LONDON — A huge fire broke out near a major train station in London on Monday, sending a fireball into the street and vast plumes of smoke over parts of the city. About 100 firefighters fought for two hours to bring the blaze under control.
The police said the explosion was not related to terrorism, calming nerves after onlookers posted dramatic images of the flames shooting out of a garage located in the archways beneath the Elephant and Castle station.
Five people were inside the garage, which housed an auto repair shop, when the fire broke out shortly before 2 p.m. One person was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, according to the London Fire Brigade’s station commander, James Ryan. The four others had already left when the firefighters arrived, he added.
The London Ambulance Service said six people were treated for injuries at the scene, and one was transported to the hospital.
Firefighters and the police evacuated the Elephant and Castle station, which is a major transit hub in South London, as well as a nearby residential building, sending people into the adjacent streets. The fire department also warned residents nearby to keep doors and windows closed during the incident.
“There are significant road closures in place and the public are advised to avoid the area,” the Southwark Police posted on Twitter, adding, “the incident is not believed to be terror related.”
The fire brigade said three commercial units under the archways that support the station had caught fire, as well as four cars and a telephone booth. Shortly before 4 p.m., London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, said the fire, which he described as “very serious,” had been brought under control.
Railway officials said trains were not running through the station and warned that service could be affected on Tuesday, as there was evidence the fire had damaged signaling equipment.
The Sun, a British tabloid, posted images of what it said was a police officer carrying two young children down a staircase to safety.
A neighborhood theater, Southwark Playhouse, opened its doors, posting, “If you’ve been evacuated and need somewhere to go our door is open for you to charge your phone, have some water or take a seat in our bar.”
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