Southwark fire: London train services disrupted as 70 firefighters tackle huge blaze near railway

·3 min read

Train services to a major station in London were severely disrupted on Wednesday morning after a large fire broke out near railway arches.

Some 70 firefighters and 10 fire engines were dispatched to tackle the blaze near Union Street, Southwark. Footage from the scene shows large clouds of thick black smoke billowing into the air where the blaze broke out.

The London Fire Brigade said the fire is producing “heavy smoke” and those living nearby are being advised to keep their windows  and doors shut.

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The fire broke out near railway arches just south of the River Thames (LFB)
The fire broke out near railway arches just south of the River Thames (LFB)

The service said it received more than 30 calls from concerned members of the public, with the first phoning in at around 9.30am. Several buildings have been evacuated.

A student said she had to use a face mask to protect herself from fumes created by the fire.

Lauren Chopin, who lives in an apartment which is a two-minute walk from the fire,s aid she had to wear a mask in her apartment due to the fumes.

"There is a lot of smoke all through Union Street and neighbouring streets, there are many fire emergency services trying to put out the fire," the 20-year-old said.

"It sometimes slows down and the smoke becomes whiter, only to be followed by another huge burst of black smoke... we have closed all doors and windows to limit the amount of smoke coming in."

A woman said she was evacuated from her workplace as a result of "thick, black smoke pouring out" of a railway arch in Southwark.

Hanushe Lala, from Streatham in south London, said: "I was in a meeting at around 9.44am, when the alarms started going off and everyone was looking around to find out if it was real. Then we all got told to leave the building."

The 24-year-old, who works in facilities management, added: "Everything has been cordoned off and there’s thick, black smoke pouring out of the archway.

"All the buildings around us have been evacuated... around half an hour ago the place was swarming with people but now everyone is starting to move away because they’ve told us we won’t be let back in for a while because the fire is so bad and getting worse."

Network Rail said trains to and from London Bridge station were affected by the fire.

The rail operator said in a statement: “A fire broke out in an arch under (the) railway.

“London Fire Brigade are on site with multiple pumps and we have closed the railway until we can confirm it’s safe.”

“We’re working with London Fire Brigade and we will need to inspect the railway once the fire out before we can reopen. Thank you for bearing with us.”

Train operator Southeastern said a fire had “severely disrupted” all routes through London Bridge.

A spokesperson wrote on Twitter: “Due to a fire next to the track between Waterloo East and London Bridge, services across all routes through London Bridge are severely disrupted.

“Trains are being diverted to other London terminals or terminated at alternative locations.”

LFB station commander Wayne Johnson, who is at the scene, said: "The blaze is producing heavy smoke and those living or working in the local area are advised to keep their windows and doors closed.

"Trains to and from London Bridge are affected and several buildings have been evacuated."