Firefighters tackle major blaze at Camden Lock Market through the night
Blaze contained after flames light up night sky in Camden Town
10 July, 2017 — By Dan Carrier
MORE than 70 firefighters were called to a massive blaze in Camden Lock in the early hours of this morning (Monday) as fire tore through buildings in the nearby market.
The fire gutted shops and units on the upper floors of the building and appeared to have included a corner unit which contains music shop Camden Guitars and restaurant Honest Burgers.
Crowds behind police cordons, which sealed off Camden High Street and Chalk Farm Road, saw flames leaping 50 metres into the air and the area was covered in thick smoke.
UP ALL NIGHT: Listen to Dan Carrier’s update to BBC London
It is the second fire to hit the market this year, with sprinklers successfully preventing the spread of flames at the indoor market in February.
Stall holders TJ and Rachael – who did not want to provide surnames – were waiting anxiously behind police cordons as flames licked through the four storey buildings over looking their business in Middle Yard. The couple, from Chalk Farm, could see the flames from their house.TJ, a well-known caricaturist at the Camden Lock Market, said: “I looked out of my window and could see the smoke and hear sirens. We ran straight down here.”
Tj works in Middle Yard between two record shops, Massive International and Camden Lock Vinyl. From the Camden Lock bridge, he could see the fire taking hold above his business.
They were with a record store worker who added: “Thankfully, a lovely security guard who had been on to the site when the fire brigade had said it was safe had a look around for us and had assured us the record shops were not fire damaged. Our friend runs the clothes store Celtic Dawn next door, and we believe the ground floor has only some water damage. But upstairs is in a bad way – the roof looks like it collapsed and just the frame work is still standing.”
Another stall holder, who works in West Yard, added: “It’s very lucky it happened at night. Today it was very busy. The crowds were very big. Can you imagine if it had been a few hours earlier?”
The Market, which sees hundreds of thousands of visitors each weekend, was closed at the time and the London Ambulance Service said no one was injured. The fire service are trawling through debris this morning (Monday) to establish the cause.
It does not appear to have been as severe as the Hawley Wharf Market fire of 2008, which levelled a two acre site opposite. The Fire Brigade had this morning’s blaze under control within around three hours and kept the damage away from the historic Dingwalls Wharf area.
Andy Walton of the London Fire Brigade said: “The hard work and aggressive actions of the crews insured the fire was contained to the area of the building which was alight when the Brigade arrived.”
A spokesman for Market Tech, owners of Camden Market, said: “An isolated fire broke out in a building adjacent to the market hall area of Camden Lock Market overnight which was brought quickly under control by the Emergency Services and we are now working closely with them to investigate the cause. Thankfully no one was injured during the incident. While a very small section of Camden Lock market will be closed off to the public until further notice as a precaution, the rest of Camden Lock market and the wider area, including Stables Market and Union Street, will be fully open and operating and welcoming visitors and customers as usual today.”
A Metropolitan Police statement said: “Police were called at 12.10am to Camden Lock Market to reports of a fire. The London Fire Brigade were already at the scene.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Crews will remain at the scene overnight damping down remaining hot spots.
The Brigade’s David Reid, who was at the scene, said: “Crews worked hard to get the fire under control and to stop it from spreading to neighbouring buildings.”