Firefighters still at scene of Finchley Road fire 80 hours later
PUBLISHED: 16:44 29 October 2015 | UPDATED: 16:56 29 October 2015
One fire engine and five firefighters are still at the scene of the large Finchley Road blaze, 80 hours after it first broke out.
Firefighters continue to damp down pockets of flames at the PhoneRepairs4U shop and the flats above, which have been devastated by the fire.
The blaze has also badly damaged two neighbouring mid-terrace buildings.
Twenty-five people, including pregnant Mai Morales, escaped the blaze unscathed on Monday morning shortly after the London Fire Brigade were called at 6.30am.
The fire gushed into the voids between the floors of the building, one of the reasons firefighters have struggled to put out the flames.
A London Fire Brigade spokesman said: “When crews arrived they were faced with fire and smoke spread throughout a large building on one of London’s busiest roads during rush hour.
“Our priority was to get everyone out and firefighters acted quickly to lead 23 occupants to safety and rescue a further two people from the roof. “Crews also provided support to a number of people including one pregnant woman and a child suffering from smoke inhalation.
“The complex nature of the fire and the structure of the building meant this was a very challenging incident to deal with and our crews worked tirelessly to resolve it as quickly and safely as possible.
Firefighters fought the fire internally for a number of hours, working at both the front and rear of the premises from an early stage.
Three aerial appliances were also used to tackle the fire externally and at roof level to prevent the fire spreading to neighbouring properties.”
The building was refurbished in 2010 by the landlord, the cash-and-carry retailer Bestway Group, when extra flats were created inside.
The complex layout of the block caused difficulties for firefighters in reaching flames towards the back of the block.
A source told the Ham&High that the building has become “unstable” since the fire.
The cause of the blaze is still unknown and is under investigation.