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120 people evacuated due to fire at 19-storey block of flats in London

The blaze at at the flats in St Mark’s Square, Bromley, south-east London (Liz Smith/PA)
The blaze at at the flats in St Mark’s Square, Bromley, south-east London (Liz Smith/PA)

About 120 people were evacuated due to a fire at a 19-storey block of flats in south-east London.

There were no injuries reported at the blaze in St Mark’s Square, Bromley, which was tackled by 15 fire engines and about 100 firefighters, London Fire Brigade (LFB) said.

Half of a five-room flat on the 15th floor was destroyed by the fire – and part of the roof was also damaged.

Firefighters were called at 11.58am on Sunday, and the fire was under control by 4.08pm.

LFB said it was a very visible fire and the Brigade’s 999 Control centre received 95 calls at the peak of the incident.

Fire crews used a 64-metre turntable ladder to tackle the fire.

Station Commander Colin Digby was at the scene and said: “Crews made steady progress in fighting the fire.

“It was a protracted incident and our crews will be on scene for several hours to come.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Footage posted on social media showed flames and black smoke coming from one part of a slanted roof.

Bromley fire
Firefighters at the scene (Josh Gill/PA)

Further footage showed firefighters on the roof with the flames apparently extinguished.

Josh Gill, 29, a Co-op team leader from Bromley, said: “I literally live on the doorstep.

“I was in my flat and my mother-in-law came over to pick up my wife’s niece who stayed over last night, and as she came she said about the fire and saw all the fire brigade appear and (I) went to have a look.

“Some people were upset and crying whilst others were shocked and confused as to what was going on. The fire brigade are still here and you can see people who live in the flats evacuated in the church.”

“It is scary to see this right on the doorstep as I have a family.”

A man living near the tower said he saw flames burning “ferociously” on the building.

Rowland Leslie, 63, said: “I was just walking down to come to Bromley and I don’t think it had started not long before that because the fire engines were just coming.

“Where there is the slant of the building there are balconies and flames were burning ferociously at the start.

“I have been in Bromley for over an hour and where I was it looked like the fire had been put out but in the last 20 minutes it looks like it must have started up again.”

A large cordon remained in place around the scene of the fire on Sunday afternoon, with residents being diverted on longer routes to get to their homes.

Guests at a nearby Premier Inn were evacuated and told they are likely to have to wait several hours to get back inside.

One guest, Jerome Smith, 22, said: “I was asleep, woke up, came out, my friend messaged me saying there was a fire and they evacuated everyone.

“My car is parked in the car park, so we’re just waiting to get in. They’re saying it’s going to be a three-hour wait.”

On Sunday evening, Bromley Council said it had been informed by LFB that residents were allowed back into the building up to the 12th floor.

The council said management agents are on site and are bringing in contractors to get rid of the water needed to put out the fire.

Staff at the cinema on the site are also being allowed back in but it will not reopen on Sunday evening, the council added.

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