More than 100 firefighters tackled a spectacular fire under a railway arch in London’s Elephant and Castle on Monday that injured six people and caused major disruption to trains.
Witnesses reported hearing “an explosion” and videos posted to social media show a fireball erupting from a car garage that was already ablaze.
Thick black smoke billowed across the railway tracks and residents were warned to say indoors and close windows.
Sara Scarpa, 25, lives in nearby building Hurlock Heights and said smoke and the noise of the explosion 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.”
Martin Bobrowski, a builder working opposite the station, said the smell from the fire was “awful” and smelt “like a burning electrical cable smell”.
Network Rail said no more trains would run through or to the station for the rest of the day, affecting Thameslink services from London Blackfriars.
Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, said his thoughts were “with all those affected by the very serious fire“ and thanked the emergency services for their work at the scene.
James Ryan from the London Fire Brigade said the first firefighters at the scene found the blaze had spread from a car garage to several cars and a telephone box outside. It later ignited further, spreading to three other commercial units.
It was eventually brought under control just before 4pm.
The London Ambulance Service said six people were treated for injuries, with one of them taken to hospital.
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