London hotel gas blast: 14 hurt in gas explosion at Churchill Hyatt Regency hotel

Explosion in the basement caused part of the building to collapse

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The Independent Online

At exclusive hotel in central London has been evacuated after an explosion in the basement caused part of the building to collapse, injuring 14 people.

The Churchill Hyatt Regency hotel in Portman Square was evacuated following the suspected gas explosion at around 11.40pm yesterday.

The five-star hotel, located in the Marylebone area, features over 400 guest rooms.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) said 500 people were asked to leave the hotel and many took shelter at nearby hotels.

Around 80 firefighters were on the scene of the incident, including appliances with specialist equipment to deal with collapsed buildings. The full extent of the damage is not known at this stage and all people were accounted for, a spokesman for LFB said.

LFB later tweeted there had been "extensive damage caused to the basement".

Dennis Luwer, a resident in the area who lives opposite the hotel, told the BBC a hole had been blown in one side of the building. "It's about two metres high and a metre wide," he said.

"There's a metal garage door bulged out. We can see some windows at street level also blown out."

London Ambulance Service initially said it treated 12 people for injuries caused by the blast but later revised the figure to 14, including two men who were taken to nearby St Mary's Hospital for leg wounds.

A further three people needed hospital treatment, while nine others were checked over at the scene and given the all-clear.

A hotel spokesperson told ITV no guests were harmed and could be relocated while the extent of the damage was assesed.

The spokesperson added: "Hyatt's top priority is the safety and wellbeing of our guests and associates, and we are currently working to provide guests with accommodations while we evaluate whether the hotel suffered any significant damage."

Police officers were also on scene and a Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "At about 11.40pm we were called to a suspected gas explosion at Portman Square. Officers are in attendance alongside the fire brigade and ambulance service. A small number of injured parties are being treated ."editorial

A dangerous structures engineer is on site along with gas authorities.

The Independent has contacted the hotel for comment.

Additional reporting by PA

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