One of London’s most famous music venues has been badly damaged in an overnight blaze.
The dome on the roof of Koko in Camden has been destroyed by fire, according to the London Fire Brigade.
Sixty firefighters helped fight the flames after the blaze broke out just before 21:00 GMT on Monday and no injuries have been reported.
The venue which began life as the Camden Theatre in 1900 has hosted stars including Madonna, Coldplay and Prince.
Station commander Jon Lewis said the fire was brought under control at about 02:30 on Tuesday, adding: “Firefighters’ quick action and hard work in the early stages meant the fire was contained to the roof and saved the rest of the building.”
Koko owner Olly Bengough said he was “deeply saddened” by the blaze, adding: “We’ll be doing our best to get the redevelopment of this iconic building back on track.”
Crews will remain at the scene throughout the day and have warned people to stay away from the area.
Koko which was closed for refurbishment, was also previously known as the Camden Palace and Camden Hippodrome and has been one of the capital’s most iconic live music venues for decades.
The Rolling Stones, The Clash and Ed Sheeran are among other star names to have performed at the venue, which is close to Mornington Crescent underground station.
It was reportedly the last venue where AC/DC’s Bon Scott was seen drinking before his death from alcohol poisoning in 1980.
In the early 80s it served as a major venue for the punk and New Romantic scene, with singer Steve Strange of the band Visage holding club nights.
Members of the public have been sharing their Koko memories on Twitter.
Marc Rustic was “absolutely gutted” having seen his first grime gig at Koko.
“MoStack was performing and it was honestly the best night of my life,” he added.
Veteran DJ Tony Blackburn who held his legendary soul nights Shakatak also tweeted about the fire.
Koko and the nearby Roundhouse effectively “bookended” Camden’s music scene, according to music writer Carl Allen.
In between the two are 60 music venues including the Dingwalls and Electric Ballroom, as well as restaurants and pubs.
On Twitter the Roundhouse said it was “really sad” to hear the news about our Camden neighbours.
Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said: “Heartbreaking watching the Camden Palace/Koko up in flames this evening, a building that holds so many memories and means so much to us in Camden.”
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan thanked the fire brigade for its quick response.
The venue was set to reopen in the spring after a “major state-of-the-art” refurbishment, after the purchase of two adjacent buildings.
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The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has been condemned for “serious shortcomings” and systemic failures in its response to the Grenfell Tower fire, in a report into the 2017 blaze.
Fewer people would have died in the fire if the LFB had taken certain actions earlier, the report by inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick said.
He also said some evidence given by the LFB at the inquiry was “insensitive”.
The BBC has seen sections of the report ahead of Wednesday’s publication.
The head of the Fire Brigades Union said the inquiry was “back to front” and the focus should be on why the building was dangerous in the first place.
Matt Wrack told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that decisions were made on the night “in the context of a building that [had] completely failed”.
Referring to the flammable cladding, he said: “People will be baffled [as to] why people haven’t already been prosecuted for doing that to a building, which led to the deaths of 72 people, and yet the actions of individual firefighters on the night of a fire are being subject to such scrutiny.”
The 1,000-page document follows the first phase of the inquiry, which looked at what happened on the night that 72 people died in the tower block fire on 14 June 2017.
The council, the tower’s tenant management organisation, the police and the fire service were all quizzed during the inquiry’s first phase.
The inquiry has criticised the Daily Telegraph, which first published leaked details of the report, and other media which followed suit. A spokeswoman said publication had deprived “those most affected by the fire – the bereaved, survivors and residents – of the opportunity to read the report at their own pace”.
Sir Martin’s report praised the courage of firefighters on the night.
But it found many “institutional” failures that meant the LFB’s planning and preparation for the incident was “gravely inadequate”.
For example, Sir Martin said control room staff who fielded 999 calls “undoubtedly saved lives” but “a close examination” of operations revealed “shortcomings in practice, policy and training”.
He said staff that night were in an “invidious” position when they were outnumbered by 999 calls.
“Supervisors were under the most enormous pressure, but the LFB had not provided its senior control room staff with appropriate training on how to manage a large-scale incident with a large number of FSG [Fire Survival Guidance] calls,” he said.
“Mistakes made in responding to the Lakanal House fire were repeated,” he added – referring to a fire in Camberwell, south London, in 2009, which killed three women and three children.
By Lucy Manning, special correspondent
This report could not be more critical of the London Fire Brigade.
The Grenfell families wanted this level of criticism, especially those whose relatives died when they were told for nearly two hours to stay put in the building as it was covered in flames.
But there is also some frustration that this first part of the inquiry wasn’t about those who made the cladding and oversaw the refurbishment of Grenfell.
That will only happen in the second phase of the inquiry next year and then they’ve got even longer to wait for the police investigation to finish.
So they are seeing some blame apportioned and they hope they will eventually see justice but the Grenfell survivors will always suffer the loss and grief and ask the question how did 72 people die in what was supposed to be the safety of their homes?
Sir Martin also criticised the LFB for following a “stay put” strategy, where firefighters and 999 operators told residents to stay in their flats for nearly two hours after the blaze broke out.
The strategy was rescinded at 02:47 BST, the report said. Sir Martin wrote: “That decision could and should have been made between 01:30 and 01:50 and would be likely to have resulted in fewer fatalities.”
Firefighters who attended the fire did not have training on how best to combat a cladding fire, the report added.
Four experienced members of the first crews to have fought the blaze had 52 years of combined experience. However, they had not received any training on the risks posed by exterior cladding or the techniques to be deployed in fighting fires involving cladding, the report found.
Sir Martin said the “principal” reason the fire spread so quickly “up, down and around the building was the presence of the aluminium composite material (ACM) rainscreen panels with polyethylene cores, which acted as a source of fuel”.
The report also said evidence given by the LFB’s commissioner, Dany Cotton, suggested lessons from the fire might be missed.
Sir Martin wrote: “Quite apart from its remarkable insensitivity to the families of the deceased and to those who escaped from their burning homes with their lives, the Commissioner’s evidence that she would not change anything about the response of the LFB on the night, even with the benefit of hindsight, only serves to demonstrate that the LFB is an institution at risk of not learning the lessons of the Grenfell Tower fire.”
A spokesperson for the LFB said it would be “inappropriate” to comment on the report’s findings before they were officially released on Wednesday.
Speaking on Monday, Sir Martin said the report was long and detailed.
He stressed that readers of the report “should understand as clearly as possible the terrifying conditions faced by those who were in the building, at the time”.
The cause of the fire was found by the report to be “an electrical fault in the large fridge freezer in the kitchen” in a fourth-floor flat.
“It occurred without any fault on the part of the tenant… and I am pleased to clear him of any blame, given that some people have unfairly accused him of having some responsibility for what happened,” Sir Martin said.
- Additional reporting by Vinnie O’Dowd.
About 30 residents have been evacuated and part of a building has been destroyed following a suspected explosion.
London Fire Brigade said it was called to a fire after the suspected blast on High Street in Hampton Hill, south-west London, on Tuesday night.
On social media, one witness described hearing a “boom” before the blaze. No was injured.
Road closures remain in place at the scene, Richmond Council said.
Residents at a block of flats engulfed by flames said concerns were raised with builders and the council about potential fire hazards.
Twenty flats with wooden balconies were destroyed and another 10 damaged in the fire in east London, Barking on Sunday.
Resident Rachel Mendez said: “The fire spread so so quickly. I can’t even explain. It was just an inferno.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the “shocking” fire could have “easily resulted in fatalities”.
Speaking on Twitter, Mr Khan added that “despite not having any responsibility or powers over the property”, his team had been in contact with the owner of the building to “resolve issues previously raised by the residents”, adding that he would be making “further contact” with them and “pushing for vital changes to be made”.
‘Supposedly fire resistant’
Barking Reach Residents’ Association raised concerns over potential fire hazards in the building prior to the blaze.
The association’s treasurer, Venilia Batista Amorim, said questions were raised over the timber frames and wood cladding of the block following the fire at Grenfell Tower.
She said residents were reassured by Bellway Homes, the developers of the privately-owned De Pass Gardens flats, the materials complied with fire regulations.
“We were told that in the event of a fire, the materials – supposedly fire resistant – would give residents at least 30 minutes to evacuate.
“As we have seen, the block was engulfed in flames in about two minutes.”
Bellway Homes has been approached for a comment.
Faults were also identified with sprinklers and fire alarms in the building and fire wardens were put in place while the faults were fixed, Ms Batista Amorim added.
“The fire wardens left their posts about five weeks ago having been told the faults had been sorted.
“However, the residents of this block of flats did not hear a fire alarm. They were alerted to the fire by neighbours knocking on doors,” she said.
More than 100 firefighters tackled the blaze, which spread over six floors, for more than two hours.
London Assembly member Andrew Boff, who lives nearby and went to help get people out, said on Twitter no fire alarm sounded during the blaze, which he said was “crazy”.
“At that time, only two floors were alight but when I came out, the entire building was in flames – perhaps something to do with these wooden balconies on the outside.
“I was also struck that there was no fire alarm. The fire alarms do not work – which to me, seems crazy.”
Mihaela Gheorghe said she had concerns about the safety of the wooden balconies on the flats.
“We raised several issues to the builder, the maintenance companies and the council about the safety of having all these wooden balconies,” she said.
“I was in my fourth-floor flat when the fire started. We ran out.
“The fire brigade came but they found it hard to find a water supply at first.”
Ms Mendez, who lived on the third floor, said her life possessions were “all gone”.
“Everything is completely gone. Every sentimental thing I own has been destroyed. Just gone – like that.
“I am thankful for the fact nobody was hurt – or even killed – but I just don’t know what’s going to happen now.”
At the scene
By BBC London’s Greg McKenzie
Looking at the outside of the building, there must be about 50 flats that have been damaged by the blaze or from the smoke and heat coming from the fire.
Everybody is surprised and thankful nobody was seriously injured – but there are strong concerns.
Residents have said the fire alarms were not working and they were alerted by neighbours.
One woman was having an afternoon nap and got woken by a neighbour banging on the door.
Everyone is angry and wants answers as to why and how this happened.
The fire was put out by 18:00 BST and its cause is being investigated.
A man and a woman were treated for the effects of inhaling smoke. No other injuries were reported.
People affected by the fire were told to “take rest” at the Thames View Community Centre – about a mile away from the scene.