Large fire on London 2012 Olympics site

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Smoke from the fire, as seen from an office block on the edge of the City of London, approximately 5.5 km (3.4 miles) from the fire.
Image: AJR.

A huge fire was reported in Hackney Wick eastern London, England, on part of the 2012 Olympic Games site scheduled to be the location of the handball courts.

Flames are visible from Canary Wharf and the smoke plume is visible across the whole of the City of London. The fire, at a disused single-storey warehouse in Waterden Road, Stratford, is said to have been reported around 12:05 GMT. The Associated Press reports say that a "large explosion" preceded the fire; eyewitnesses do not confirm this, though there is flammable material on the site. David Jones of East London Bus company states that the fire started at a disused warehouse adjacent to their Waterden Road depot.

Eight fire appliances and 40 fire-fighters were initially deployed. The winds carried the smoke over London and reports suggested that the plume of smoke was visible from Rochester, Kent.

By 13:15 GMT the London Fire Brigade reported that there were 15 appliances and around 75 firefighters, and the fire was not yet under control.

Police say they have no evidence of a terrorist attack at this time.

Charles Buchanan of London City Airport told BBC News that the airport was still operational but had closed one runway whose flight path crosses the smoke plume, though services are unaffected. A short stretch of railway close to Hackney Wick was temporarily closed but suffered no damage.

London Ambulance Service confirms that there are no known casualties and their emergency response team has been stood down, though their hazardous area team remains on site. Police are holding back large crowds of bystanders.