London

West Hampstead flats fire: 100 firefighters tackle blaze

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe fire broke out on the top floor of the five-storey building

About 100 firefighters are tackling a blaze at a five-storey block of flats in north-west London.

London Fire Brigade was called to the fire on the top floor of Welbeck Mansions on Inglewood Road, West Hampstead, at about 01:00 BST.

About 50 people were evacuated from the block, and two people were helped out by firefighters.

The service says the fire is now under control, with 15 engines still at the scene.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWest Hampstead flat fire: Resident 'left everything behind'

London Ambulance Service sent crews, but has not taken any patients to hospital.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Station manager Clainton Murray said the fire was thought to have started in a flat on the fourth floor.

"The flat was severely damaged by fire and a large part of the roof was also destroyed," he said.

Due to fears that the roof could collapse, firefighters evacuated residents from the top floor and helped two people escape from the first floor.

A number of other residents self-evacuated from lower floors, Mr Murray said.

Image copyright Angelica Malin
Image caption Firefighters believe the blaze started on the fourth floor of Welbeck Mansions
Image copyright Christophe C
Image caption About 50 people were evacuated from the flats, the fire service said

"Firefighters have carried out salvage operations to save, where possible, residents' possessions from water damage," he added.

"In the early stages, the fire was very visible and could be seen for miles around."

A London Ambulance Service spokesperson said no injuries have been reported.

Image copyright Alexia Karakassis
Image caption A cordon was in place as about 100 firefighters tackled the blaze

Angelica Malin lives near the flats and could see the blaze from her bedroom window.

"I can see firefighters inside as the roof is on fire and there's two men on cranes working on putting the roof fire out," she said.

"It's so scary - my flat is filled with the smell of smoke. The firemen have been amazing and I feel comforted by the incredible response."

At the scene: Greg McKenzie, BBC Radio London

It's quiet now here on the street - there's the police, the fire brigade, and a tiny bit of smoke - you can smell it in the air.

The fire brigade is dousing the roof of the building as it's still smoking.

The top of the building is completely gutted.

Many residents are eating biscuits and sandwiches, drinking coffee and consoling each other at the Black Lion pub, which opened its doors to everyone affected.

I chatted to ground-floor resident Irene Bradshaw as she sat on a bench in the street in her night clothes.

She said residents think they may be allowed to go back in soon and pick up "some essential things".

Image caption London Fire Brigade sent 15 crews to the scene

Related Internet links

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