London’s O2 Arena (the building formerly known as the Millenium Dome) has been shut after parts of its roof were ripped off in high winds as Storm Eunice struck.
Some of the white covering on the venue could be seen flapping in the strong gusts, in footage shared on social media.
London Fire Brigade (LFB) said around 1,000 people were evacuated from the building but there were no reports of any injuries.
The damage was described as “tragic” by the band Simply Red, and “so sad” by a woman who witnessed a “chunk” coming off the top.
A spokesperson for the venue confirmed it would remain closed for the rest of Friday and added that they would “act accordingly” as they assessed the “ongoing situation”.
The famous building, formerly known as the Millennium Dome, hosts major events including concerts, and features restaurants, bars, shops, and a cinema.
Upcoming gigs include the rapper Dave on Monday and Tuesday, and UB40 next Friday.
On its official Twitter account, the O2 is described as: “Not just a tent. The world’s most popular music and entertainment venue.”
Visitors can also do a 90-minute climb of the recognizable roof for views of London as part of its Up at the O2 experience.
As Storm Eunice hit the city on Friday morning, witness Mala Sharma told the PA news agency that she had seen the damage “right in front of my eyes” and that it had “started off with a patch” but then a “chunk” of the dome roof ripped off.
LFB station commander Chris Kamara said crews have made the scene safe.
He 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 canvas material which covers the O2, it has come loose in high winds and looks quite dramatic.”
A spokesperson for The O2 said: “Due to today’s adverse weather conditions, we can confirm that there has been some damage caused to the tent fabric in our roof at The O2.
“The affected areas have been cleared and The O2 will remain closed for the rest of the day. The safety of our visitors remains of paramount importance, and we will continue to assess the ongoing situation and act accordingly.”
Simply Red, who had been due to play the venue this weekend but postponed due to Covid, said the damage was “tragic”.
Accompanied by a picture of the gaps in the roof, a tweet from the band’s account read: “Looks like the O2 shows wouldn’t have happened anyhow. Tragic. #Eunice”