More than 1,200 people were evacuated, activities like Up At The O2 were cancelled and cinema goers missed their movies when a fire broke out at The O2 on Sunday morning (October 18).

The fire was caused by a blaze in the ventilation system of Brazilian restaurant Rodizio Rico, spilling fumes and the smell of burning plastic into the Dome. There were no major arena events scheduled for the day.

Witnesses said they heard an evacuation message at 11.15am.

Jessica Taylor told the Evening Standard: “Me and my partner were in the cinema to watch The Martian. Between the trailers we heard the evacuation message outside saying: ‘Due to an incident please leave the building by the nearest exit and don’t use the lifts’.

“There was a kind of electrical, burning plastic smell – it was quite strong and it seemed to intensify as we went outside.”

Brigade station manager Martin Freeman said: “Although this was a small fire it did create a lot of smoke and so security staff evacuated people from the arena.

“Crews quickly tackled the fire and then searched the ducting between the roof and the ground floor to ensure they had thoroughly damped down any remaining hotspots. There were no injuries.”

Four fire crews from Greenwich, Poplar, Shadwell and Millwall fire stations spent just over two hours putting out the fire and the entertainment venue was open by 4pm. Smoke from the blaze could be seen from miles away.

After the drama, a message on The O2 website read: “We are pleased to confirm that the building has now reopened. If you experienced disruption to a booking during the closure today, please contact our customer services team who will be happy to assist. Thanks for your patience.”