UK Politics

Dozens flee flames as fire breaks out in London flats

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Around 50 people had to flee a block of flats after a large fire broke out in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Fifteen fire engines and around 100 firefighters were sent to the scene in West Hampstead, north west London, just after 1am.

London Fire Brigade said the fire was believed to have started in a flat on the fourth floor of the five-floor building, although the cause is not clear.

Firefighters are still trying to get the flames under control, the brigade said just before 4am.

Image: 100 firefighters are at the scene of the fire. Pic: Angelica Malin @jellymalin

Photos on social media showed flames and thick smoke coming from the building, with the top floor appearing to have been taken over by the fire.

Station manager Clainton Murray said: "The fire is also affecting the roof and in the early stages was very visible for miles around.

"Due to concerns that the roof could collapse inward firefighters evacuated residents from the top floor.

"In addition fire crews assisted two people from the first floor and a number of other residents self evacuated from lower floors.

"Around 50 residents are using a local public house as a rest centre."

Angelica Malin, who lives nearby, said on Twitter that the fire appeared to have caused a "huge amount of damage and had spread dramatically".

A local pub, The Black Lion, tweeted: "Anybody affected by the current fire in West Hampstead our doors are open…We will be here all night".

The block is understood to be Welbeck Mansions which, according to a local estate agent, was built in 1897.

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