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Timber merchant destroyed in yard fire

A south London Timber merchant was destroyed in a blaze yesterday which resulted in a series of explosions.

Timber merchant destroyed in yard fire

Emergency services were called out at 07.07 after a blaze started in the yard of Express Timber and Building Centre in Penge. At 07.18, the first explosion occurred. A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said that no one was hurt in the fire.

“We are aiming to scale back our operations as safely as possible,” he said. “No one was hurt but we will probably use heat-seeking cameras to check for hot spots before we leave today. As soon as everything is safe for the team the fire brigade will be investigating the cause of this fire.”

Several of the merchant’s customers had turned up to the site, only to find their way blocked. One customer, who did not wish to be named, said: “I know the owner well, I feel really bad for him. He was working very hard the last time I was in there and I don’t think this will have done him any favours.”

Buildings around the merchant were evacuated, including several flats above the yard and the nearby shops. The fire was officially extinguished at 10.30pm, 15 hours after it started. Seven liquid petroleum gas cylinders were recovered from the scene and cooled, but it is now not thought that they are connected with the explosions.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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