Blaze ravages London’s Camden Market

A blaze that ripped through London’s trendy Camden Market area, destroying shops, bars and homes, has been brought under control, firefighters said on Sunday.

One hundred firefighters tackled the blaze that broke out Saturday night, forcing police to evacuate bars and clubs packed with young revellers as the flames engulfed market storage areas and shops.

The blaze, which broke out about 7pm local time as the north London area swelled with partygoers, took six hours to bring under control. There were no reports of any injuries.

“Our thoughts are with those people affected by the fire in Camden Market — one of the most thriving markets in London and of enormous importance for the economy of the local area and beyond,” said London mayor Ken Livingstone.

“Thankfully there appears to be no one injured despite the fact that it is a dense area and on a Saturday evening would have been crowded.”

Camden is a trendy and rough-at-the-edges area of north London at the heart of the “alternative” culture scene. Its arty shops and large craft and clothing market are a major London visitor attraction.

The fire had filled the sky with orange flames leaping well above the rooftops, creating clouds of smoke and spreading cinders across the area.

The worst-hit areas were storage properties for the Canal Market and the Hawley Arms pub, popular with showbiz faces such as the band Razorlight, Kelly Osbourne, Pete Doherty and Sadie Frost, and a favourite haunt of singer Amy Winehouse.

Parts of the area are expected to be closed for the next three or four days, police said.

The homes of about 100 people were evacuated, said the London Fire Brigade, which used 20 fire engines to dampen down the flames.

“A range of market storage areas, shops, dwellings and two pubs were severely damaged by the blaze,” the force said. — AFP

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