A building under construction went up in flames only a hundred yards from here. I woke up at around 2:45am because a woman was out yelling for everyone to get outside, and there were children in the buildings, get out, get out! I heard popping noises, like fireworks.
I went downstairs to the livingroom, where Manny was talking to Jason in Canada on the Xbox headset, and didn’t hear a thing. Good thing it wasn’t our building on fire 😉 I look out the window and flames are shooting over the rooftops, embers are falling everywhere around us like snowflakes!
I get outside as I can. I don’t see any fire trucks anywhere, and I’m worried that people might still be inside nearby buildings. From a clearing in a parking lot nearby the full awe-inspiring inferno can be seen. Manny quickly joined me and took video, so hopefully you’ll be able to see it soon. But let me just say, I’ve never seen anything that big in my life.
This was probably a four story building, very wide, like a warehouse or a block of flats being built (I don’t know what it was, but want to get the size across to you). And it was all on fire like one giant bonfire. Not fire pouring out of the windows, I’ve seen that before, no big deal. No, I mean every single beam was ablaze like it had been built by hundred foot tall Boy Scouts using the dryest kindling available.
And when I say the embers fell like snow I wasn’t kidding. I was worried for a while because the wind blew the embers directly over our house. They drifted down, bright orange flakes, some the size of a two dollar coin, most the size of a penny.
Many people were already outside, but I needed to check on the fire itself. I still didn’t see any firetrucks, and maybe some nearby buildings hadn’t been cleared. I ran around the block to see if any of the buildings near it were in danger, just as a deciduous tree next to the blazing building went up. Unlike the bright orange of the building, the tree burned bright yellow, and at the tip of each limb it was so bright it was white, like a christmas tree in hell, before it burned itself out.
There were three firetrucks there, I hadn’t seen them earlier because a house blocked their view. There was no doubt that evacuation measures were well underway, but none were using their hoses on the blaze. Perhaps it was pointless at that stage?
Manny went around to collect some statements from people as well as video footage. Hopefully he can get a story published about it this morning. The BBC still hasn’t made a big deal about it (there were no fatalities) but it’s the third big fire in Camberwell this year. Manny also has better video footage than that they showed earlier. I stayed out for a while to watch the embers, make sure our place didn’t catch on fire (little chance, it was also snowing/raining, and the roof had a layer of snow/frost on it). Two firetrucks moved close to our building thinking the same thing. I was up until 4:30 as a result.
That was a seriously massive inferno. I’ve never seen anything like it.