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Explosion and fire at Elephant and Castle TfL units #streetnews

Explosion

A explosion is caught on camera as a fire has broken out underneath Elephant and Castle station leading to evacuations.

Fifteen engines and 100 firefighters were sent to the south east London station, where the fire had started in garages in the arches of the railway station.

Videos from the scene showed explosions sending fireballs out of the unit.

Dozens of people are having to evacuate the area.

One image captured on social media showed a police officer carrying two children from the station.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) said that there had been no reports of any injuries early on in the incident, which was raised just before 2pm on Monday. 

They reported that the fire spread quickly, setting two other industrial units under the arches alight as well as four cars.

Huge plumes of smoke could be seen billowing up from the station and the garage below.

An LFB spokesman said: “Ten fire engines and around 70 firefighters are attending a fire at railway arches near to Elephant and Castle railway station. Please avoid the area and close all doors and windows.”

“Officers are supporting LFB in Elephant and Castle. “There are significant road closures in place and the public are advised to avoid the area. “The incident is not believed to be terror related.”

Southwark Police confirmed that the incident was not believed to be terror related, but that they were working with the city’s firefighters. 

The force said: “Officers are supporting LFB in Elephant and Castle. “There are significant road closures in place and the public are advised to avoid the area.

The incident is not believed to be terror related.”

Officers at the scene said the station has been fully evacuated along with the nearby Strata residential building.

They described it to local residents as a “major incident”, adding that road closures are going to be in place for “several hours” as they try to prevent people “coming and going”.

Residents were seen on the streets near the cordon with their pets having been evacuated.

Major disruption is expected in the area for the rest of the day.

Network Rail said initially trains would continue to travel through the station, but will not stop there. 

But at 2.30pm it said that trains had to be stopped as emergency services dealt with the blaze. 

Thameslink said in a tweet: “You will have to use an alternative route to complete your journey and you should allow plenty of extra time to complete your journey.

“To help keep you on the move, you can use your ticket on: London buses between London Blackfriars, Denmark Hill and

Loughborough Junction, London Underground and Southeastern trains between London Victoria, Peckham Rye, Nunhead and London Bridge to Sevenoaks.”

The Northern Line is not stopping at Elephant and Castle tube station as a result of a fire that has broken out nearby, Transport For London (TFL) has said.

A TFL spokesman said the fire occurred close to the station on Monday afternoon, and that the entrance to the Northern Line cannot be accessed.

Theatre Southwark Playhouse have offered their facility as a base for anyone evacuated by the fire. 

In a statement on Twitter, it 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.”

Witness accounts and reaction to the fire

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.”

Minister for London Paul Scully MP said: “Seeing the smoke at Elephant & Castle from my office window.

“Trying to monitor the speedy response from our emergency services. Hoping everyone is ok.”

Dawn Buttler MP said: “I hope everyone is okay at Elephant and Castle. Stay safe. Thank you LFB for running into danger when everyone runs out.”

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.”

Martin Bobrowski, a builder who is working opposite the station, said he heard ambulances and police driving nearby before seeing smoke coming from the station at about 2pm.

I heard the police come and I thought there was an accident nearby, but then they started blocking the road off. I then came outside for a cigarette and saw all the black smoke,” he said.

“I was really surprised to see it and a bit scared. They haven’t told us anything. The smell was awful. It smelt like a burning electrical cable smell.”

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