Fire rips through heritage-listed London church
A fire tore through a heritage-listed church in north-west London on Thursday night, prompting a major emergency response.
Around 80 firefighters and 12 fire engines rushed to St Mark's Church in St John's Wood after being alerted to the blaze at 11.19pm.
London Fire Brigade (LFB) said that the fire was brought under control at 2.22am on Friday morning, but that the whole two-storey building was "destroyed". There were no reports on injuries.
The LFB said it used three ladders, including the tallest in Europe at 64 metres, as towers to distribute water evenly and extinguish the blaze.
Residents were advised on Thursday evening to keep their windows and doors closed as the fire was producing a "significant amount of smoke in the local area".
Video and pictures captured large flames and smoke billowing from the structure.
Police are now demanding that people go 'further back' down the street. Locals have come pouring out into the street, where only an hour ago it was nearly completely empty. pic.twitter.com/zVUGCsCC0m
— Mohamed Elmaazi (@MElmaazi) January 27, 2023
The cause of the fire is still unknown, but an investigation into the incident has been launched.
The LFB said in a statement: "Firefighters used two of the Brigade's new 32-metre turntable ladders and a 64-metre turntable ladder (the tallest in Europe) as water towers, to get water on to the building externally.
"The Brigade's 999 Control Officers took more than 30 calls to the blaze."
Fire crews from North Kensington, Paddington, West Hampstead and surrounding stations attended the scene, along with ambulance crews.
According to the National Churches Trust, St Mark's is a grade II Victorian church containing "stunning" mosaics by the Salviati family, as well as highly decorative marble flooring in the chancel.
The trust describes it as an "architectural and historical treasure" that was built between 1846 and 1847 in the Gothic style to the design of architect Thomas Cundy Junior.
The Anglican church is located near Abbey Road Studios and Lord's Cricket Ground, and has links to author Lewis Carroll and Queen Victoria's son Prince Leopold.