Image courtesy of London Fire Brigade.

Fire at Bow Business Centre leaves homes severely damaged

Residents say that no alarm sounded in the commercial and residential building as more than 100 firefighters tackled the blaze

Fifteen fire engines and over 100 firefighters were called to a fire at Bow Business Centre and residential building, located on the corner of Bow Road and Fairfield Road on Friday 25 August. 

Flames took hold of the building, which is opposite the Bow Bells Pub and Root25 Cafe, at 6:04 pm and the fire was under control by 9 pm. 

The blaze severely damaged several homes and a large part of the roof of the seven-storey commercial and residential building, according to the London Fire Brigade (LFB). 

Fifteen people left the building before the brigade arrived and there were no reported injuries. 

At the height of the fire, 123 calls were made to the brigade’s 999 Control centre alerting them to the blaze. A fire engine was on the scene three minutes after the first emergency call was received. 

Videos were posted on social media of thick black smoke billowing into the air as crews arrived on the scene. 

One resident told the PA Media news agency that the fire alarm did not sound during the fire. 

The resident said: ‘The flats at the top are two floors, I saw people through the windows as the fire was going on. The fire alarm wasn’t going off, they had absolutely no idea.

Plumes of smoke coming from Bow Business Centre fire, taken from a distance.

‘The first thing I did was call the fire service, then I ran downstairs to make sure that the building was evacuated and told the fire warden the flats hadn’t been evacuated.

‘It was quite clear the fire was coming from the roof, it wasn’t coming from the flats. I ran back upstairs and grabbed my bag then ran down my corridor and banged on the doors shouting ‘fire’.’ 

One of the brigade’s 64-meter turntable ladders and a 32-meter turntable ladder were deployed as water towers to tackle the flames from height and road closures were put in place to allow crews to work safely.

Assistant Commissioner for Operational Control and Resilience, Pat Goulbourne, said: ‘This was a challenging and complex fire but our crews worked quickly and tirelessly to restrict damage to homes and ensure that no one was hurt.’

Fire crews from Bethnal Green, Whitechapel, Homerton, Shadwell, Islington, Plaistow, Shoreditch, Lewisham and surrounding fire stations attended the scene.

The brigade said the cause of the fire is now under investigation.

For more local news, read our article about the Bow Goods Yard masterplan.

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