LONDON • More than 70 firefighters battled a fire at London's Camden Lock Market after a blaze broke out at a building at the popular tourist attraction.
The cause of the overnight Sunday fire was unknown and the blaze was extinguished after three hours, with no immediate reports of any injuries or casualties.
London's Daily Telegraph quoted onlookers as saying the fire was "moving very fast", which raised fears of explosions if it reached nearby restaurant kitchens.
The fire damaged the first, second and third floors and the roof of the building in north London which housed many boutique shops, the London Fire Brigade said after the blaze was brought under control yesterday.
Images shared on social media showed tall flames and a burnt-out building at the market.
Camden Lock Market is home to more than 1,000 shops, stalls, bars and cafes, and was partially closed for months after a fire in 2008 swept through storage areas and shops, and damaged adjoining houses.
London's latest big fire came a month after a blaze killed 80 people in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower, 6km to the north-east, and just as firefighters said more lives could have been saved then if fire engines had longer ladders.
"We just think it is almost criminal that an international city like London, the 13th richest in the world, and our highest ladder goes up only 30m, when some Third World countries have 90m ladders," said Ms Lucy Masoud, a London firefighter and an official with the Fire Brigades Union.
The London Fire Brigade's 30m ladder reached only to the Grenfell Tower's 10th floor. Firefighters rescued 65 people.
London's firefighters do not have the tallest aerial fire engines in Britain, and had to get one from Surrey County.
Firefighters were angry about that and other failings they believed contributed to the Grenfell disaster, said Ms Masoud.
She also blamed firefighting budget cutbacks in recent years for the lack of adequate equipment for firefighters.
A fire brigade spokesman said that it had changed its procedures since the Grenfell Tower fire so that a high-ladder truck would be among the first vehicles sent to a high-rise fire.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NYTIMES