80 firefighters tackling blaze at 17-storey block of flats in London

A fire at a 17-storey block of flats in London has been tackled by scores of firefighters, with some 120 people evacuated.

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

The emergency services were alerted to the fire at St Mark’s Square just before midday, with the brigade’s 999 control centre receiving 95 calls about the fire at the peak of the incident.

The fire was brought under control by 4:08pm, the brigade said.

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

Station commander Colin Digby, who was at the scene, had said: “Crews are making steady progress. This is going to be a protracted incident and we expect our crews to be on scene for several hours to come.”

Evacuated residents have been taken to nearby St Mark’s Church, with Bromley Council said to be providing support.

The Premier Inn hotel next to the tower has also been evacuated and guests have been told they are likely to wait several hours to get back inside.

Jerome Smith, 22, who is staying there, 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.”

Flumes of smoke could be seen streaming from the building’s roof

(PA)

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

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

A large cordon remains in place around the scene, with residents being diverted on longer routes to get to their homes.

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.

80 firefighters were called to the blaze on the 15th floor of the apartment block

(PA)

“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.”

Rowland Leslie, 63, who lives nearby, said: “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.”

Raquell Viamonte, 22, who works at a restaurant in St Mark’s Square, said it was “terrifying” when the fire broke out.

“It was quite stressful,” she said. “I had to deal with quite a lot of customers, kick them out and refund their orders. The fire alarm started ringing and by the time I walked out there were firefighters running around everywhere. It was terrifying.”

Fire crews from Bromley, Beckenham, Addington, Woodside, Lewisham, Forest Hill, Sidcup and Croydon and surrounding fire stations were brought in to tackle the blaze.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Additional reporting by PA

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