Storm Eunice tore strips off the roof of the O2 this afternoon, but there is no structural damage to the former Millennium Dome, fire chiefs have confirmed.
About 1,000 people were evacuated from the building after the Greenwich Peninsula was battered by gusts of up to 87mph. Photos and video showing roof panels in shreds went viral on social media at lunchtime.
More and more of the Dome is being shredded pic.twitter.com/EUgyH2ryvK
— Ben Hubbard (@BJFHubbard) February 18, 2022
Despite the tears in the roof, over the Icon shopping centre, the London Fire Brigade said there was no damage to the structure itself, which was built in the late 1990s for the country’s millennium celebrations.
East Greenwich station commander Chris Kamara said: “Firefighters cordoned off the area to ensure no one was injured by any further falling debris.
“There has been no actual collapse or structural damage to the building, but due to the nature of the material which covers the O2, it has come loose in high winds and looks quite dramatic. Crews have made the scene safe and the O2 is now closed until further notice.”
The roof, which is made of polytetrafluoroethylene-coated glass fibre, originally came with a 25-year guarantee, although in 2000 it was reported that this warranty had been invalidated by a decision not to use the original manufacturer for maintenance.
While the total cost of the Millennium Experience came to £789 million, the Dome itself cost only £43 million to build.
After the Dome closed at the end of 2000 it lay little-used until 2006 when it reopened as the O2. It now contains a 20,000-capacity arena as well as other performance venues, a shopping centre, cinema, restaurants and bars.
Trees have come down across SE London and rail services have been suspended while the storm continues, with London covered by a rare Met Office red alert between 10am and 3pm. Greenwich Park has been closed while Lewisham Council also closed its parks.
— notgavin (@notgavin) February 18, 2022
Another well-known SE London structure, the Trinity Laban dance centre at Deptford Creek, was also damaged in the storm, with exterior panels coming off.
The London Fire Brigade has declared a major incident after taking 550 calls between 10.30am and 1pm – more than the average number usually taken in a 24-hour period, and has asked people to only call 999 if there is a risk to life.
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