A dramatic blaze which tore through a building site in London’s West End, prompting fears of an explosion, has been brought under control by firefighters.

London Fire Brigade (LFB) said 72 firefighters and officers were sent to Great Portland Street following reports of a fire at 12.45pm.

The road is close to Oxford Street – the capital’s busiest shopping hub.

A column of acrid black smoke could be seen rising from the fire in pictures posted on social media, visible from miles away against the blue afternoon skies.

Firefighters fearing a potential explosion set up an emergency exclusion zone after learning gas cylinders were involved in the blaze.

The building had been under refurbishment, the LFB said, with neighbours reporting that it was being converted into flats by developers.

Footage of the scene showed thick smoke and flames leaping up a scaffold structure surrounding the site.

No-one was injured in the fire, Scotland Yard confirmed.

A spokesman for the LFB said the fire was officially declared under control at 1.45pm.