London

Burnt Oak blaze sees 500 evacuated amid explosion fears

The fire took hold in a workshop Image copyright LFB
Image caption The fire was in a workshop behind shops and flats

Five hundred people were evacuated from homes and businesses in north London following a fire at a workshop.

London Fire Brigade was called at 15:37 BST to the blaze at Watling Avenue in the Burnt Oak area of Edgware.

It tweeted at 21:14 that is was under control and the street had reopened to drivers and pedestrians. Burnt Oak Tube station has also reopened.

Seventy-two firefighters attended and set up a 200m (656ft) exclusion zone amid fears gas cylinders might explode.

One man was taken to hospital before the fire service arrived.

It is unclear if all residents have been allowed back into their homes.

Image copyright LFB
Image caption Seventy-two firefighters and 10 fire engines attended

Station manager Sean Madeley from the brigade said a single-storey workshop at the back of a row of shops with flats above was gutted by the fire.

A small part of a shop was also damaged by the blaze.

Mr Madeley said: "Gas cylinders were involved in the incident. As a result, a hazard zone was set up as cylinders can explode when exposed to heat.

"Crews worked hard in arduous conditions to cool the cylinders and damp down pockets of fire."

Image copyright Yiannis Costopoulos
Image caption Smoke was seen from a distance

An eyewitness said people were screaming "there's a fire, there's a fire".

She added: "Across the road, there was a chicken shop and a hairdresser and behind there, there was so much black smoke coming out of the windows.

"And then the air was becoming really toxic to breathe, so they had to evacuate and push us back across the road.

"So I asked an officer, 'what's happening?' and he said it started from a car."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites