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Ten fire engines and 70 firefighters and officers were called to a fire in an administration building belonging to the Baitul Futuh Mosque on London Road in Morden this afternoon.
The fire affected the administration building and associated halls next to the mosque, which is the largest in western Europe. The ancillary building suffered extensive damage to its ground floor, first floor and roof. Thanks to the quick actions of firefighters though, the mosque itself was unaffected by the fire.
London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said:
"This was a large fire in a high profile building that was successfully contained by a highly professional firefighting operation. I would like to thank all the firefighters, officers and Control room staff involved for their excellent response during the incident, particularly the close liaison and communication with the local community."
Station Manager Philip Morton who was at the scene said:
"This was a large fire and our crews worked hard in difficult conditions to confine it to the administrative buildings on the site and thanks to their efforts the mosque itself escaped completely unscathed. Throughout the incident we worked closely with the local community to ensure our damage control operations took into account the religious significance of the building's contents."
Around 30 people left the building before the Brigade arrived, including one man who was taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service suffering from smoke inhalation.
The Brigade was called at 1206 and the fire was under control by 1732. Crews from New Malden, Wandsworth, Tooting, Sutton, Mitcham, Norbury and other surrounding fire stations attended the incident.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.