Elephant and Castle station 'fireball' brought under control

28 June 2021, 14:08 | Updated: 28 June 2021, 18:47

Elephant and Castle station engulfed in 'fireball'

By Kate Buck

A large fire which broke out at Elephant and Castle station has been brought under control, the London Fire Brigade has said.

A spokeswoman for the service said that the blaze was first reported at 1.43pm on Monday and that 15 fire engines and 100 firefighters are at the scene.

The blaze was brought under control shortly before 4pm.

Six people were treated by ambulance crews and one was taken to hospital.

Videos and pictures shared on social media show a huge explosion happen in the railway arches. People and police officers can be seen running for cover as the flames shoot into the sky.

Footage of the aftermath show great plumes of black smoke covering the city.

The blaze is believed to have started at some garages close to the train station, the London Fire Brigade has said.

A statement said: "Three commercial units underneath the railway arches are completely alight and four cars and a telephone box are also alight near #ElephantandCastle Railway Station. Road closures are in place and people are advised to avoid the area and keep windows and doors closed."

The LFB said the nearby train station has been closed. London Fire Brigade have confirmed ten fire engines and around 70 firefighters are attending a fire at the railway arches near to Elephant and Castle railway station.

They have asked people to avoid the area and close all doors and windows

A London Ambulance Service spokesperson added: "We were called at 1.50pm today to reports of a fire near Elephant and Castle station.

"We sent a number of resources, including ambulance crews, incident response officers and our hazardous area response team. 

"We treated six patients at the scene and took one of them to hospital."

Sara Scarpa, 25, lives in nearby apartment building Hurlock Heights and said smoke and the noise of the explosion had reached her window.

"We opened the window for a sec as you could hear people shouting, and we smelt something very very strong," she said.

"The smoke (was) dying down a little... we heard an explosion and now it started again."

A restaurant worker close to Elephant and Castle station said she was evacuated after the fire broke out.

Alex Leckie, 30, assistant manager at Tupi, said: "The entire building was evacuated, we began to smell smoke and the store owner went to check, we saw smoke billowing out and what I'm told is the mechanics were on fire, the smoke pillar started enveloping the apartment blocks as well and we kept hearing intermittent bangs.

"The police have indicated it could be some time (until they are allowed back inside). They have repeatedly pushed the crowds back even from the Castle Square Park and cordoned off the roads, there is a very, very heavy presence.

"At this point emergency crews have everyone well clear of the area."

Another witness, Rob, told LBC: "I'm literally on the other side of the road, whatever it is currently… we saw a large plume of kind of acrid smelling smoke which lifted up quite quickly in the air pretty fast the tactical support and police rushed in to shield odd the area followed by 2 or 3 fire engines.

"It does seem like – the smell is sort of like a burning plastics, there’s a lot of construction work going on currently in and around the area with the redevelopment but where the fire is actually is just behind where the station is on Elephant Road.

"There’s a lot of restaurants and bars underneath where the railway line is underneath the arches… and the storage of something has exploded in one of these arches, it’s quite possible."

The nearby Southwark Playhouse has opened its doors for anyone who needs shelter.

A post on social media said: "We are aware of the fire at Elephant and Castle and we hope everyone is OK.

"If you've been evacuated and need somewhere to go our door is open for you to charge your phone, have some water or take a seat in our bar. We are 77-85 Newington Causeway - two minutes from the station."

More to follow...