Over 100 firefighters and 20 appliances from the London Fire Brigade were required to put out a large fire in a building housing a museum, library and council offices in Walworth yesterday [25 Mar].

While LFB and the London Ambulance Service reported that there were no injuries, the blaze left all three floors and the roof of the building seriously damaged.

Station Manager Peter Critchell, who attended yesterday's fire, said: “The fire is now under control but crews are still at the scene damping down the pockets of fire which remain to ensure that they are properly extinguished. 

"At the height of the incident the flames were coming through the roof and there was thick billowing grey smoke. We had well over a hundred firefighters at the scene and used water jets to attack the fire from all four corners of the building which was fully alight. We evacuated 30 people and firefighters managed to salvage around 500 artefacts from the museum."

Thirty people were evacuated from inside the library which has artefacts from all over the world, including objects from Roman London, Chinese ornaments and African tribal costumes.

Councillor Peter John, leader of the council, said: "No artefacts were removed from two of the galleries so we are just waiting to see, if and when we get back in, what might be in there.

"And there are also some items on loan from the British Museum and we don't know the status of them either." The Brigade was called just before 1230 and the fire took more than 6 hours to control with engines spending this morning damping down the remaining pockets of fire. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Posted 26/03/2013 by richard.hook@pavpub.com