A massive explosion from “dangerous chemicals” has rocked a London tube station with black smoke seen from kilometers away. After a huge explosion under Elephant and Castle train station, an enormous blaze has broken out in South London.
The Sun reports that black smoke could be seen billowing above the capital for kilometers after a giant fireball erupted under the significant transport hub. A police officer and a public member are being treated for smoke inhalation after a blaze broke.
Terrified witnesses posted the shocking images on social media, explaining that they had been “engulfed” in black smoke. Police are currently urgently evacuating residents and businesses in the area.
Officers have reportedly confirmed that “dangerous chemicals” have been involved in the blaze. Thick plumes of black smoke could be seen filling the air above central London at around 1.45pm (10:45 AEST) this afternoon.
Travelers were urgently evacuated from the station after the blaze broke out. There are unconfirmed reports the fire broke out at an auto repair shop in one of the arches under the station.
A mechanic who works in the garage said: “We all had to run out of the shop. I didn’t see how it started. “There were six of us in the shop at the time. We left all our things in there and had to run. I could see flames about seven meters high.
“My phone is still in there and all my things. There are three cars in there now and other things that can explode, so I don’t think we will be allowed back.”
A passenger on the Tube traveling through Elephant and Castle station said the area was being “hurriedly closed” and that it was a petrol station that had caught fire.
Dramatic pictures showed a heroic police officer rescuing two children from the fire after it broke out at the station.
Services are set to be disrupted for an extended period, potentially causing chaos during the after-work peak hour rush.
Thameslink said all lines through Elephant and Castle are currently blocked due to the fire. Services between St Albans and Sutton and London Blackfriars and Sevenoaks are affected. The Northern Line is not stopping at Elephant and Castle tube station as a result of the fire.
Officers have taped off Walworth Road, leading up to Elephant Road’s entrance, and closed the door to the Northern line.
One video shows the moment that a massive ball of fire exploded out of the side of the station. Sara Scarpa, 25, lived in nearby apartment building Hurlock Heights and said smoke and the noise of the explosion had reached her window.
“We opened the window for a sec as you could hear people shouting, and we smelt something very, very strong,” she said. “The smoke (was) dying down a little … we heard an explosion, and now it started again.”
A three-year-old tabby cat called Cat is still believed to be stuck inside the area where the fire broke out. The Cat’s owner Adam Watts said: “The firemen are aware that he is still in there and I am hoping and praying he comes back out alive. I will wait here until they save him.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “My thoughts are with all those affected by the severe fire in Elephant and Castle, which is now under control. “I am in close contact with the Fire Commissioner.”
London Fire Brigade said around 100 firefighters were battling the blaze and that three railway arch units, six cars, and a telephone box were all on fire.
Station Commander James Ryan, who is at the scene, warned people to “avoid the area” and “keep windows and doors closed”. A witness said they saw “numerous” police cars present, an ambulance, and three fire engines.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps urged the public to avoid the Elephant and Castle area “until further update”. He said he was aware of the fire at the station, and his team was working closely with Transport for London and Network Rail and thanked the emergency services.
A London Ambulance Service spokesperson said:” We were called at 1.50pm today to reports of a fire near Elephant and Castle station.
We sent several ambulance crews, incident response officers, and specialist response teams to the scene, including our hazardous area response team.