A fire that caused the evacuation of the Mandarin Oriental hotel is believed to have started when the by-product of welding work landed on the felt lining of a planted wall, setting it alight.
The blaze at the newly renovated 181-bedroom, five-red-AA-star hotel on William Street, Knightsbridge, broke out at 3.55pm on Wednesday. Some 120 firefighters were called to tackle the fire, just a week after the hotel had unveiled a multi-million pound renovation.
London Fire Brigade today said: "The fire is believed to have been caused by the by-product of arc welding landing on the felt lining of the planting facade."
The hotel had installed "green living walls" across five facades of its inner courtyard as part of its renovation.
London Ambulance Service reported that no injuries resulted from the blaze, which saw 36 hotel guests and 250 hotel staff evacuated, with a huge plume of smoke visible across West London.
The fire is believed to have spread across the vertical facade for plants and vegetation and into several floors of the hotel, before it was eventually brought under control at 9.51pm. The external planting facade was damaged along with small parts of several floors of the hotel, the roof and plant machinery on the roof.
In its latest statement the Mandarin Oriental said: "On the afternoon of 6 June a fire broke out at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London. All guests and colleagues were evacuated safely.
"It is too early to state when we will reopen, but initial assessments have shown that the fire damage has mainly been confined to the courtyard area of the hotel with limited impact on the interiors. We will continue to provide timely updates as more information becomes available.
"We are in the process of assisting future guests with alternative accommodation until we are ready to welcome them back.
"We would like to express our appreciation to everyone who has conveyed their concern about this sad incident and we also thank the emergency services for their swift response."