Bromley fire: 100 firefighters battle huge blaze at flat block as black smoke fills sky


A huge fire has broken out at a block of flats as shocked residents watch on from the balconies of the floors below and 100 firefighters tackle the blaze.

Half of a five-bedroom flat on the 15th floor of the block is alight and part of the roof is also on fire in Bromley, London.

London Fire Brigade was called at 11.58am and is still on the scene. Around 95 calls alerting to the “very visible” blaze have been made to its 999 control centre.

In an update this afternoon, it said crews were making “steady progress” and are expected to be on the scene for a further several hours.

Footage posted to social media captured flames and plumes of black smoke rising from one part of a slanted roof.

One photo showed residents peering out of their apartments at the fire raging above them.

Occupants were apparently slow to react, with one even seen “sunbathing” on his balcony as fire alarms screeched “everywhere”.

John Zucconi, who was visiting the area this afternoon with his family, told MyLondon: “We saw smoke coming out of the building and walked down to see what was going on, just being nosy.

“There were people still in their block looking out while everyone was looking up at them. Before anything really serious happened [in terms of the smoke becoming thicker and the fire spreading] they must have been in there for 30 minutes.

“The fire alarms were going off everywhere and one guy started sunbathing on his balcony. Seriously, he came out in shorts and with no top on and everyone was just looking up at him.”

A further video showed firefighters on top of the building with the flames apparently extinguished.

A large cordon remains in place around the scene, with residents being diverted on longer routes to get to their homes.

Guests at a Premier Inn next to the tower were evacuated and have been told they are likely to wait several hours to get back inside.

One guest, Jerome Smith, 22, said: ” I was asleep, woke up, came out, my friend messaged me saying there was a fire and they evacuated everyone.

“My car is parked in the car park, so we’re just waiting to get in. They’re saying it’s going to be a three-hour wait.”

A man living near a tower fire in Bromley said he saw flames burning “ferociously” on the building.

Rowland Leslie, 63, said: “I was just walking down to come to Bromley and I don’t think it had started not long before that because the fire engines were just coming.

“Where there is the slant of the building there are balconies and flames were burning ferociously at the start.

“I have been in Bromley for over an hour and where I was it looked like the fire had been put out but in the last 20 minutes it looks like it must have started up again.”

Station Commander Colin Digby, who is at the scene, said: “Crews are making steady progress. This is going to be a protracted incident and we expect our crews to be on scene for several hours to come.”

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

In a statement, London Fire Brigade said: “Half of a five room flat on the 15th floor of a 17 storey block of flats is alight. Part of the roof is also on fire.

“It’s a very visible fire and the Brigade’s 999 Control centre has received 95 calls alerting them to the fire.

“Fire crews are using a 64 metre turntable ladder to tackle the fire.

“The Brigade was called at 1158 and is still on scene.

“Fire crews from Bromley, Beckenham, Addington, Woodside, Lewisham, Forest Hill, Sidcup and Croydon, Bexley, Orpington and Battersea fire stations.”

The blaze comes two weeks after 60 firefighters battled a blaze at a high-rise block of flats in the west of the capital.

Eight fire engines rushed to the scene in Shepherd’s Bush, less than a mile away from Grenfell Tower, after an apartment block went up in flames.

Two other people were treated at the scene with smoke seen billowing from the building.

London Fire Brigade said a flat on the 12th floor of the residential block was alight.

A spokesperson said at the time: “We were called at 9.45am to reports of a fire at a block of flats on Queensdale Crescent.

“We sent resources to the scene, including two ambulances and our Hazardous Area Response Team.

“Two patients were assessed at the scene and another was treated and taken to hospital.”