Crews fight to save blaze museum at Cuming Museum and Newington library in Walworth


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The Independent Online

More than a hundred firefighters have been trying to save a collection of artefacts from a blazing museum.

Firefighters evacuated 30 people from Cuming Museum and Newington library in Walworth, south-east London, after a fire took hold in the roof.

Southwark Council leader Peter John said that, while the council's primary concern was the safety of the public and staff, it was also worried about the museum's collection.

The museum, which was founded in 1906 with the Cuming family's private collection, is home to artefacts from all around the world, including objects from Roman London, Chinese ornaments and African tribal costumes.

It also contains a permanent exhibition on the history of Southwark.

It is unclear how the fire started and no injuries have been reported, a London Fire Brigade spokesman said.

Emergency services were called to the building shortly before 12.30pm and 120 firefighters and 20 engines were on the scene.

Station manager Peter Critchell, at the scene, said firefighters would make efforts to salvage as many of the artefacts as possible.

He said: "Flames are coming through the roof and there is thick grey smoke billowing up.

"Firefighters are still working hard at the scene to try and bring the blaze under control.

"We now have water jets attacking the fire from the four corners of the building. We evacuated 30 people from inside the museum."

Dany Cotton, of the brigade, added: "We've got well over a hundred firefighters working hard at the scene to bring the fire under control. It's a large blaze and the whole of the building's roof is alight but fortunately we've not had reports of injuries."