While no one was injured in the blaze, around three-quarters of the landmark Marconi building’s roof has been damaged, the extent of which is still to be determined.
The London Fire Brigade was called to the scene at 11am on 14 June, with 20 fire engines and 100 fire fighters tackling the blaze at the height of the incident. The fire was eventually extinguished at 6.30pm.
Station Manager Tom Goodall, who was at the scene of the fire, said: “It was a difficult job but firefighters managed to prevent the fire from spreading to the neighbouring properties. The building itself, which is under refurbishment, was evacuated quickly and there were no reports of any injuries.”
Spanish hotel group Melia Hotels International, previously known as Sol Melia up until this week, has full-risk insurance coverage and intends to continue with building work at the 173-bedroom, five-star ME London as soon as possible, in order to have the business running in time for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
The reconstruction of the building, which will also feature two destination restaurants and bars at ground level, was initially estimated to cost £45m.
The group announced its name change last week in a bid to demonstrate clearly its renewed focus on globalisation to achieve ‘greater international recognition’.
Melia International also operates the Melia White House in Regents Park. The cause of the fire is unknown at this stage.