Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Police Investigate Cutty Sark Blaze

CCTV footage is being examined by police after a huge blaze swept through historic 19th-century ship the Cutty Sark.Eight fire engines and 40 firefighters were sent to battle the fire on the 138-year-old tea clipper which is housed in a dry dock at William Wark in Greenwich, south London, at about 04:47 BST. And although the London Fire Brigade managed to put out the blaze at 08:01 this morning a spokesman confirmed that fire investigators would be sent in to investigate what caused the blaze "as soon as it is safe to do so".According to Chris Livett, the chairman of Cutty Sark Enterprises, the "national treasure" has been saved from utter destruction by the fact that much of what was on board the boat had been previously taken off for restoration work. But he added: "In terms of the project itself it's still a significant setback and it's something that is going to take a serious amount of effort to get back on track."Scotland Yard are treating the fire as suspicious and security images of people in the area at the time of the fire are being examined. "There is indication that there were people in the area when the fire started. That was from the borough CCTV," Inspector Bruce Middlemiss of the Metropolitan police said.He added that police were also investigating reported sightings of a silver car leaving the scene, although he said there was no immediate link to the fire. The Cutty Sark, built in 1869, is currently closed to visitors due to a £25 million renovation it is undergoing. Residents living nearby have been evacuated from their homes as a result of today's fire, Scotland Yard confirmed.

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