Hotel gas blast at Hyatt Regency in London sees 14 hurt
At least 14 people were injured in a suspected gas explosion at a luxury hotel in central London.
The five-star Hyatt Regency London - The Churchill, in Portman Square, Marylebone, was evacuated following the blast shortly before midnight.
London Ambulance Service said five of the injured were taken to hospital, including two with leg wounds.
Fire officers and gas engineers are ensuring the scene is safe so guests can be allowed back into the hotel.
Another nine people who sustained injuries were treated at the scene.
London Fire Brigade said the explosion happened at about 23:40 GMT in the basement of the hotel, causing part of the building to collapse.
About 80 firefighters were at the scene, including appliances with specialist equipment to deal with collapsed buildings. London Fire Brigade said at the height of the incident about 500 people were evacuated. The hotel has more than 400 guest rooms.
A hotel spokesman said that no guests were harmed, but that 12 staff were treated for injuries. It said that guests were accommodated in other hotels while the damage was being assessed.
Dennis Luwer, who lives opposite the hotel, said a hole had been blown in the side of the building.
He said: "It's been pretty intense. We just came home and saw lots of people standing outside.
"The street has been blocked off. There is a big hole in the outer wall of the Hyatt. It's about two metres high and a metre wide.
"There's a metal garage door bulged out. We can see some windows at street level also blown out."
BBC journalist Richard Main, of BBC London 94.9, said it was understood the explosion had happened in the hotel's kitchens.
He said that some of the hotel staff were treated for relatively minor injuries including a suspected broken leg.
A spokesman for the hotel said: "Hyatt's top priority is the safety and well-being 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."
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