Swiss Cottage fire: Hundreds flee Taplow tower block blaze

More than a hundred terrified residents were forced to flee their homes last night as a fire tore through a Swiss Cottage tower block.

Smoke billowed out of the Taplow block in Adelaide Road after a fire erupted on the 17th floor at 10pm.

Fire and ambulance crews were dispatched to the 22 storey block as 130 shocked residents, many of them in their pyjamas, sought refuge in Swiss Cottage community centre across the road.

Forty firefighters battled the ferocious blaze, believed to have been caused when papers caught alight on a candle, for more than three hours, bringing it under control shortly before 1.30am.

No one was hurt.

Station Manager Rod Horton, who was at the scene said: “This was a big block of flats and at this time of night a lot of people were inside the building.

“Crews worked extremely hard to get the fire under control and to confine the fire to just one flat on the seventeenth floor.

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“The cause of the fire was accidental and is believed to have been caused by a candle setting alight some papers.

“There were a huge amount of papers, magazines and books stored in the flat. People should try to avoid storing large amounts of this sort of material as it increases the chances of having a fire in the first place and intensifies the spread of fire if one does occur.”