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Two flats damaged as fire rips through house in Chalk Farm

PUBLISHED: 10:06 06 July 2015 | UPDATED: 14:20 06 July 2015

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Two flats were left badly damaged after a fire broke out in a terraced house in Chalk Farm on Saturday evening.

Five fire engines and around 25 firefighters were called to the blaze in the three-storey building in Belmont Street.

Nine people were evacuated before the brigade arrived.

Two flats – one on the first floor and one on the second floor of the three storey building – were left badly damaged by the blaze.

A spokesman for the London Fire Brigade said: “The Brigade was called at 22:43 and the fire was under control by 00:28. Crews from Hendon, Kensington, Dowgate and Whitechapel fire stations attended the incident.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The incident took place just minutes away from the now-closed Belsize Fire Station in Lancaster Grove.

The station, which opened in 1915, was one of 10 London fire stations to be shut down as part of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson’s, bid to make £29million savings.

After the closures, the London Fire Brigade claimed it was still hitting its arrival time targets of six minutes for a first fire engine and eight minutes for a second.

On Saturday evening, it took firefighters 15 minutes to arrive on the scene after receiving the call – leading to criticism from the London Fire Brigade Union (FBU) and London Labour Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden, Andrew Dismore.

The FBU tweeted: “On Saturday, a serious fire, with people involved, broke out near the axed Belsize fire station. It took the LFB 15 mins to reach the scene.”

Mr Dismore said: “I understand that on Saturday night 4th July, a number of serious fires broke out over the course of a few hours in the north and west of London. This significantly tied up resources in the affected areas.

“This puts in sharp relief the consequences of the Mayor’s last round of fire cuts, and his determination to cut a further 13 fire appliances next year.

“If it is a quiet night, the brigade can cope well, but with multiple incidents near to each other, the strain is clearly showing.

“In relation to the incident at Belmont Street, the address of this fire was previously part of now closed Belsize Fire Station’s ground.

“I believe the brigade was forced to mobilise appliances from as far away as Dowgate and Kensington as first attendance, owing to the unavailability of other appliances. (See attached incident report)

“It took 15 minutes for the first appliance (Dowgate) to arrive. Crucially, this incident turned out to be a ‘person reported’ fire. However, thankfully, on this occasion there was no loss of life. But it shows the potential impact of closing Belsize – and the risk of the further front line fire cuts the Mayor seems determined to force through.”

The Ham&High has contacted the London Fire Brigade for a statement.

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