Cutty Sark Blaze 'Caused By Vacuum Cleaner'

The blaze that caused millions of pounds of damage to an iconic 19th Century tea clipper was caused by a piece of electrical machinery, according to police.

The Metropolitan Police said the blaze that engulfed the Cutty Sark last May, which was docked in Greenwich, southeast London, started in the stern of the ship on the lower deck.

An industrial vacuum cleaner that had accidentally been left switched on for two days was the cause of the fire. The clipper suffered £10 million of damage.

The machine had been used to remove waste from the ship as part of a renovation project.

Police revealed there were no sprinklers on the ship, as they had been removed while it was being repaired, and no fire alarm went off.

The fire ravaged the historic ship's three decks and destroyed all the building work structures and tools onboard. However, more than half the ship, including the masts and rigging, had been removed from the scene as part of the restoration work.

More than 40 firefighters fought to keep the blaze under control for almost two hours, which began just before 5am on May 21, 2007.

Renovation for the ship is now expected to be complete by early 2010.

See: Cutty Sark searched for clues


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