Fortnum & Mason restaurant burnt to the ground

Written by Staff Writer

Skye Jamieson, CNN

An upmarket Michelin-starred restaurant in southeast England that was closed the previous evening went up in flames late Tuesday.

The incident occurred at Fortnum & Mason’s in London’s Piccadilly, which describes itself as “the world’s oldest continuously operated factory store, yet at the same time, the most luxurious, sophisticated and elegant department store.”

The fire started at around 11:30 p.m. (20:30 GMT) and took more than eight hours to extinguish.

Fortnum & Mason’s Twitter page said that 14 members of staff and 14 firefighters had worked at the scene to protect the building from further damage.

The restaurant closed the previous evening and there were no staff on site at the time of the blaze.

‘Looked like an explosion’

Sparks from an aerosol can ignited the paper and silk cord on the building, British newspaper The Sun reported.

London Fire Brigade (@LondonFire) said in a tweet that crews had managed to extinguish “80% of the fire at the moment.”

A spokesperson for the London Fire Brigade told CNN: “An investigation into the cause of the fire is being carried out by Fire Investigation officers. No-one was injured in the fire and there was significant water damage to the ceiling.

“Firefighters worked to ensure the fire did not spread to nearby buildings. Crews remained on the scene into the early hours of this morning to ensure there was no further risk.”

Channel 4 news presenter Richard Arnold took to Twitter to describe the building’s aftermath.

“When the phone went into my ear and someone said, ‘Your hotel, that store in Piccadilly is on fire and we’re just here woken up at 2.30am,’ said Arnold,” he tweeted.

“It looked like an explosion. The building looked completely destroyed,” he said.

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