Dramatic photographs have flooded social media as the incident was unfolding on Monday around 1.45pm. A massive plume of black smoke could be seen rising across the capital’s skyline.
Ten fire engines and 100 firefighters were on scene to tackle to blaze. Five people are being treated at the scene by London Ambulance Service crew and one taken to hospital.
Underneath the railway arches three commercial units, four cars and a telephone box had caught fire in the incident, London Fire Brigade confirmed. Fire could be seen exploding out of the side of the station, in a video taken by a bystander.
Father of three Kiran Patel, who filmed the video, said he felt “lucky to be alive and described a “massive boom” after an explosion at a garage just metres from where he was standing.
Mr Patel, 55, told the Standard: “There was a massive boom and then a wall of heat hit me like I have never experienced before. It was like someone had opened an oven in my face.
Everybody was scattering running for their lives I thought I was going to die, I thought of my family. The police told us to run it was like something I would imagine out of a terrorist attack. I’m lucky to be alive, there was panic in people’s eyes. Mr Patel said emergency workers had told him the fire and explosion could have been triggered by a generator in the garage.
He added: From what they were saying they were talking about the generator as a possible cause. It’s incredibly that it looks as if no one was killed. I will play those scenes back in my mind though. A huge cordon remains in place around the blaze scene.
Network Rail station at Elephant and Castle has been closed due to the fire while some London Underground services remain open, according to a TfL spokesperson.
He said: “The Northern line is not stopping at Elephant and Castle but the Bakerloo line is running as usual. The northern line entrance has been closed but the Bakerloo line entrance is not affected and remains open. Staff are present to make sure people are in a safe place alongside police.
A Met spokesperson told The Evening Standard: Police were called at approximately 13:47hrs in response to a fire on Elephant Road, SE17. Officers and the London Ambulance Service are supporting London Fire Brigade at the scene.
There are significant road closures in place and the public are advised to avoid the area. The station has been evacuated and residential evacuations are taking now place. At this early stage, the incident is not believed to be terror related.