At least eight fire engines and twenty fire fighters raced to New Cross Road to extinguish a fire behind a row of shops on Thursday afternoon.The blaze broke out at the rear of an empty shop on New Cross Road between Besson Street and the Old Kent Road shortly before 2pm on Thursday.
At 3pm the fire was under control and emergency services have not reporting any casualties. The road was closed to traffic in both directions and smoke was still visible in the air.
Mehmet Keso, who works in an adjacent takeaway restaurant, was one of twenty people who were evacuated by emergency services.
He told EastLondonLines that he saw the incident while he was at work and that the fire was caused by piles of rubbish being burned in the yard at the rear of the building.
The fire came within four meters of the restaurant but did not spread to any neighboring properties.