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Finchley Road blaze cost London Fire Brigade £165,000

PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 November 2015 | UPDATED: 10:39 05 November 2015

Firefighters tackle the blaze on Tuesday. Picture: Polly Hancock

Firefighters tackle the blaze on Tuesday. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

The blaze which ravaged a shop and block of flats in Finchley Road cost the London Fire Brigade £165,000 in manpower and resources, it has been revealed.

Firefighters tackling the fire in Finchley RoadFirefighters tackling the fire in Finchley Road

Firefighters continued to fight the flames until just before 3pm on Wednesday, after finally getting the fire at Akeman House near the O2 shopping centre under control on Tuesday. Fire crews remained at the scene until Friday.

The cause of the blaze, which started at about 6.30am on Monday, remains unknown and is under investigation.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) said the flames took so long to tackle due to the complex layout of the building, and because fire crept into the voids between floors.

It estimated the incident cost £165,000 based on the number of fire engines deployed to the scene.

Firefighters tackle the blaze on Tuesday. Picture: Polly HancockFirefighters tackle the blaze on Tuesday. Picture: Polly Hancock

A spokesman said: “This was a very challenging incident to deal with. The brigade’s priority is to resolve every incident it attends as quickly and as safely as possible and we always deploy whatever resources are required to do that.

“London Fire Brigade is a fully funded service so this incident provided no extra cost to the brigade.”

At the height of the fire, 70 firefighters and 10 engines were at the scene to tackle the blaze, which closed down part of Finchley Road until Thursday. The fire is thought to have broken out in the basement of the PhoneRepairs4U shop.

Twenty-five people – including pregnant Mai Morales – escaped.

A two-year-old was taken to hospital for smoke inhalation.

Akeman House is owned by cash-and-carry wholesaler Bestway Group, which found temporary accommodation for the victims.

It is due to carry out a site assessment to evaluate the extent of the damage to the property.

Last week, victim Nabeel Tariq claimed that none of the building’s smoke alarms sounded when the fire broke out.

But a Bestway spokesman said: “The Finchley Road building is subjected to all appropriate health, safety and fire inspections and the window and glazing followed specifications from the local authority.”

The O2 shopping centre largely remained open throughout the fire, but film screenings including opening night showings of James Bond film Spectre at the Vue cinema had to be cancelled las Monday night. Restaurants closed for half a day last Tuesday when the gas supply was temporarily disconnected.

Centre manager Jason King said he did not expect a significant loss in sales, despite the disruption. “Some parts still smell smoky, so some cleaning has gone on,” he said.

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