Firefighters rescued four builders from the roof of a renowned Catford pub as it was consumed by flames.
Nearly 60 firefighters were called to the huge blaze that ripped through the Catford Bridge Tavern last night.
Four people were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation as firefighters battled for over four hours to get the fire under control at the pub on Doggett Road.
The whole of the roof, second floor, and most of the first floor were damaged in the blaze, which was reported shortly before 6:00pm yesterday evening.
A total of eight fire engines were called to the scene.
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Firefighters spent over four hours tackling the blaze, managing to get the flames under control by around 10:30pm.
According to a statement by the London Fire Brigade, the cause of the fire is not known at this time but is not thought to be suspicious.
Station manager Kevin McKenzie, who was at the scene, said last night: “Crews worked hard in challenging conditions to prevent further fire spread throughout the building.”
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“Fortunately, no people other than the four taken to hospital with smoke inhalation were involved.”
“We’re reducing the number of fire engines and crews we have at the scene but we’ll be damping down pockets of fire throughout the morning.”
The fire falls at a devastating time for the popular pub, which had been undergoing redevelopment.
Catford Bridge Tavern was originally known as The Railway, but was renamed the Copperfield in 2011 and became known as a “magnet for troublemakers”. It was then taken over by a company called Antic, renamed, and turned into a thriving community pub until the building bought over by Tesco at the end of 2013 despite a campaign that had the support of politicians.
Since then, the pub was left unused and was mostly utilised as a home for squatters. Tesco sold the lease on the building last year and plans were made to re-open it as a pub again.
Michael Nicholas, from Solitaire Restaurants, owner of The Catford Bridge Tavern, said: “ We’re not in a position to comment on the fire, but we are working to ensure that the site is safe and secure.”
“Our intention has always been to reopen the pub and nothing has changed in that regard.”