'Explosions' heard as 'gigantic' fire rips through boatyard in south-west London

3 May 2021, 20:52 | Updated: 3 May 2021, 21:25

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A "gigantic" fire has ripped through a boatyard on the River Thames in south-west London with explosions heard by nearby residents.

Roughly 100 firefighters and 15 fire engines have been sent to the blaze at two industrial units on Platt's Eyot island in Hampton, Richmond upon Thames.

Access to the island is limited to just a single footbridge, meaning firefighters have had to hand-carry all their equipment to tackle the inferno.

One local said they heard "lots of bangs and pops" and that police and fire crews were moving people back despite the blaze being "a long way from the road".

London Fire Brigade (LFB) confirmed several gas cylinders were involved in the fire but they were cooled and removed by crews.

They were first alerted to the inferno at 5:14pm, with firefighters from a number of neighbouring fire stations being deployed.

The service wrote on Twitter: "Fifteen fire engines and around 100 firefighters are at the scene of a fire on Platt's Eyot island in #RichmonduponThames.

"Two industrial units are alight."

The fire took place in Hampton on an island on the River Thames
The fire took place in Hampton on an island on the River Thames. Picture: London Fire Brigade
Fire crews could only access the blaze via a footbridge
Fire crews could only access the blaze via a footbridge. Picture: London Fire Brigade

A spokesperson for LFB said some nearby boats were moved from the scene as a precaution. 

It later added: "Firefighters continue to tackle a fire at two single-storey industrial units on Platt's Eyot island.

"The only access is via a footbridge, therefore all the equipment had to be carried by hand to the scene by firefighters."

One man has been treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service wrote on Twitter: "Our Joint Fire Control received 20 calls to #Hampton Boat Sheds this evening.

"We are currently assisting @LondonFire at this incident.

"Nearby residents should close windows and doors."

Footage of the incident shows a huge plume of black smoke billowing from the units, which appear to have been left completely gutted by the blaze.