UK
26/09/2015 14:08 BST | Updated 26/09/2015 18:59 BST

Mosque Fire In Morden Tackled By 10 Fire Engines And 70 Firefighters

Smoke billowed out across south London as a fire on the site of a huge mosque burned on Saturday.

The ground and first floors of administrative buildings on the site of the the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden, reported to be the largest in western Europe, were affected by the fire.

Around half of the ground floor, part of the first floor and part of the building's roof were affected. "The mosque itself is believed to be largely unaffected by the fire," the London Fire Brigade said earlier.

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Smoke billows from the fire

Firefighters was called at 12.06pm and it had 70 firefighters at the scene. The building was safely evacuated.

People gathered opposite the mosque, watching a dark plume of smoke billowing out of the building's roof, before they were ushered behind a police cordon.

The fire brigade added the cause of the fire was not yet known.

People tweeted images from the scene as the fire burned.

Phil Morton, station commander for Croydon fire station, said: "Our crews have worked hard in difficult conditions to minimise fire spread within the building.

"Thankfully they have managed to confine the fire to the administrative buildings on the site and the mosque itself is unaffected.

"We are now continuing to work closely with the local community to ensure our damage control operations take full regard of the religious significance of the building's contents.

One person, a man in his 40s, was taken to hospital, suffering from smoke inhalation. He had left the mosque before firefighters arrived.

Crews from New Malden, Wandsworth, Tooting, Sutton, Mitcham and Norbury fire stations fought the blaze.

The mosque was built in 2003 for the Ahmadiyya Muslim community and can accommodate 10,000 people. It bears the Ahmadiyya Muslim motto "Love for all, hatred for none".

Merton Council leader Stephen Alambritis told The Press Association that damage to the "beautiful building" would be a "big blow" to the community.

He added: "The congregation there, especially on a Friday, are very large and peaceful and they add very much to the community. This will be a blow to their operation but they will be back."

Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden, Siobhain McDonagh said: "The mosque does a huge amount for the local community. They are tireless raisers of funds for charity - their own charities' funds and charities in the community.

"Their motto is 'Love for all, hatred for none' and they really live that. I have been to the mosque many times - it is a beautiful building and my heart goes out to them."