West Hampstead fire: Dozens of firefighters tackle blaze at block of flats in London

Former Chelsea manager Avram Grant flees blaze which 'looks like Armageddon' 

Tom Embury-Dennis,Chris Baynes
Tuesday 03 July 2018 12:55
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West Hampstead fire: Dozens of firefighters tackling blaze at block of flats in London

Dozens of firefighters have tackled a blaze at a block of flats in northwest London, with former Chelsea and West Ham manager Avram Grant among residents forced to flee.

London Fire Brigade (LFB) said flames had spread up four balconies at a building close to West Hampstead Underground station.

Eight fire engines and 58 firefighters were sent to the scene after crews were alerted to the blaze in Heritage Lane at 11.25am.

Social media users posted footage of the blaze, which witnesses spread had spread vertically up the building, a six-storey block of flats completed just last year.

“Huge fire in a block of flats in West Hampstead! Praying to god nobody was in there,” wrote Ryan Evans on Twitter.

"I was speaking with my son and I saw a lot of smoke from the balcony," said Mr Grant, who lives in penthouse apartment in the Hampstead Square development.

He told Talksport: "There was a lot of smoke, so I ran away.

Kirsten Levermore, who heading to work when she saw the fire, told the Camden New Journal: “There’s loads of smoke, it looks like Armageddon. The balconies are just gone and it looks like it’s four or five flats.

“The ground floor is hidden from view, but it looks like it started right at the bottom of the building and burnt its way up. It’s one vertical column.

“The doors are completely burnt out. It looks like a bomb has gone off.”

LFB said its 999 control room received more than 40 calls about the fire.

One witness said they saw “balconies destroyed” and doors and curtains with them” as the fire spread over half an hour.

“The rest of the apartments look OK, no word on anyone hurt at the moment,” he wrote on Twitter.

Mauro Murgia said the fire seemed to have been contained by noon appeared to have caused “serious damage to the flats involved”.

LFB said its crews had fire under control by 1.10pm. It added the cause of the blaze was not yet known.

The fire destroyed four balconies

A spokeswoman for the building’s developer, Ballymore, said: “We can confirm that the fire which broke out this morning has now been put out and there have been no reported injuries.

“The safety and security of residents is our upmost priority and we are in close communication with all affected residents. Our primary task in the coming hours is to ensure their security and to organise temporary accommodation.

“We are working closely with emergency services to find the cause of the fire.”

Tulip Siddiq, the Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, praised firefighters for tackling the blaze, which she said “seems to have been limited to exterior balconies”

She added: “They contained the blaze in less than an hour and I want to thank them for their absolute professionalism in the face of a difficult challenge – the type of which they face on a daily basis.”

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