Friday, April 27, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Devastating fire near CNN London

from a friend:

A serious fire has forced live programming from CNN's London HQ, Turner House, to be suspended until further notice. The fire, above a clothing department store on the adjacent Oxford Road - London's busiest shopping district - started just before 1900 bst (1800 gmt) Thursday. Half an hour later, World Business Today went on-air from the adjacent Turner House. However, this was quickly pulled off air as Atlanta took over live programming for the rest of the evening. Jim Clancy and Colleen McEdwards took turns with World Business Today, World News Europe and the evening edition of Business International.

Thirteen hours on, and fire crews are still on the scene tackling the blaze. All morning programming from Turner House in London has been suspended. CNN Today came from CNN Center this morning, with Michael Holmes and Jonathan Mann hosting. Mann also hosted Business International at 0700 gmt.

A large part of West-Central London has been cordoned off, with a quarter-mile exclusion zone in place until Saturday morning, according to Westminster City authorities. This area generally attracts between 250,000 to 500,000 shoppers a day. If the exclusion zone is a quarter-mile in each direction, then a large portion of Great Marlborough Street, where CNN London is based, is also included. Therefore, there is a chance that Turner House is currently empty. It is not known if the other networks to broadcast from Turner House, including the Cartoon Network and TCM, are affected.

There are fears that the building on fire may collapse. So far, there have been no reports of any injuries.

More here on CNN Observations as soon as it is available.

Update: I'm also hearing that the CNN London newsroom starting filling with smoke shortly after the fire started last night, and was therefore evacuated. I would imagine they'd have to turn off the air-conditioning/distribution in there to stop the smoke from coming in.

Additionally, Jonathan Mann is putting in quite a shift! He was live on Your World Today yesterday at around 12pm Eastern (1600 gmt). And then he was doing CNN Today at 12am Eastern (0400 gmt) this morning! He's still on right now, doing Business International until 7am Eastern (1100 gmt)!! I wonder if he's slept...

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