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Huge fire breaks out in east London as thick black smoke fills the air

Black smoke rise pours into the air (Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch)
Black smoke rise pours into the air (Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch)

A huge fire has broken out on a rooftop in east London where thick black smoke was seen pouring into the air.

Around 100 firefighters are tackling the blaze which started at a business centre in Fairfield Road, Bow, on Friday evening.

The London Fire Brigade described it as a “very visible fire”, with footage on social media showing flames and clouds of smoke.

Crowds of onlookers gathered close to the building as 15 fire engines arrived at the scene, including a man holding a cat in his arms.

Smoke rises above the London skyline close to The Shard (London Fire Brigade / X)
Smoke rises above the London skyline close to The Shard (London Fire Brigade / X)

The cause of the fire is not yet known and there are no reports of injuries. Residents were told they may not be allowed back inside until Sunday.

A local described seeing smoke coming from the roof of the homes adjacent to his flat and banging on neighbours’ doors to alert them.

The man, who gave his name as Drew, had been standing at the police cordon for three hours when he told the PA news agency: “I was going to run myself a bath and I came back downstairs and looked out the window and saw loads of smoke then realised ‘oh my God, it’s our building that’s on fire’.

“The flats at the top are two floors, I saw people through the windows as the fire was going on. The fire alarm wasn’t going off, they had absolutely no idea.

“The first thing I did was call the fire service, then I ran downstairs to make sure that the building was evacuated and told the fire warden the flats hadn’t been evacuated.

“It was quite clear the fire was coming from the roof, it wasn’t coming from the flats.

“I ran back upstairs and grabbed my bag then ran down my corridor and banged on the doors shouting ‘fire’.”

London Fire Brigade said: “Fifteen fire engines and around 100 firefighters have been called to a fire at a business centre on Fairfield Road in Bow.

“Most of the roof is alight in a six floored building.

“The fire is a very visible fire and 120 calls were made to the Brigade’s 999 Control centre alerting them to the fire.

“The Brigade was called at 6.04pm and is still at the scene.

“Fire crews from Bethnal Green, Whitechapel, Homerton and surrounding fire stations are in attendance.

“The cause of the fire is not known at this stage.”