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    Elephant and Castle fire: Six hurt in huge blaze at railway arches Published1 hour ago

    Six people were injured and several buildings evacuated after a fire caused a huge plume of smoke to billow into the sky above south London.

    About 100 firefighters battled the blaze at some railway arches near Elephant and Castle station.

    Fire crews were called shortly before 13:45 BST and local residents reported hearing a number of explosions.

    London Fire Brigade (LFB) said three commercial units were alight along with six cars and a telephone box.

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    London Ambulance Service said it had treated six people at the scene, with one of those taken to hospital.

    A police officer was among those who needed treatment for the effects of smoke inhalation, according to the mayor of London.

    People living in the area were warned to keep doors and windows closed and trains are not expected to run through Elephant and Castle for the rest of the day.

    Elephant and Castle fire
    A huge plume of smoke was visible above south London

    Fifteen fire engines were called to the scene, with the fire thought to have started in some garages close to the railway station.

    Five people had escaped before fire crews arrived, LFB said.

    Anthony King told the BBC he was about to catch his train home when he saw smoke coming out of a car mechanics and “after about five to six minutes, canisters went up”.

    The 51-year-old said the fire then spread to the adjoining arches and “there was acrid smoke going up as high as the new towers”.

    Map of Elephant and Castle

    Sara Scarpa, 25, who lives in nearby apartment building Hurlock Heights, said: “We opened the window for a sec as you could hear people shouting, and we smelt something very, very strong.

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    “The smoke (was) dying down a little… we heard an explosion and now it started again,” she said.

    Alex Lecki, who works in a restaurant in Elephant and Castle, said his entire building had been evacuated.

    “We saw smoke billowing out… the smoke pillar started enveloping the apartment blocks as well and we kept hearing intermittent bangs,” the 30-year-old said.

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    He added that police had “indicated it could be some time” before they would be allowed to return.

    Another restaurant worker, 21-year-old Abdullah Safi, said the flames were “burning so high” and were reaching about 50ft in height.

    “I’ve never seen something that big – I was scared. And it exploded twice,” he said.

    Elephant and Castle fire
    LFB said it received nearly 50 calls about the blaze

    The blaze was under control shortly after 15:30 but LFB said firefighters would remain at the scene for a few hours to dampen down the scene.

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    The cause of the fire is unknown.

    The Met said that “significant road closures” were put in place and people were advised to avoid the area.

    London mayor Sadiq Khan praised the emergency services, who he said had acted quickly to ensure both local residents and passengers at Elephant and Castle station were safely evacuated.

    Elephant and Castle fire
    Three commercial units were alight, firefighters said
    Elephant and Castle fire
    Fire crews are expected to remain at the scene for several hours

    Network Rail warned that it appeared signalling equipment had been damaged in the blaze, although engineers were unsure of the extent.

    As a result, Thameslink said trains were not expected to run for the rest of the day with services between St Albans and Sutton and between London Blackfriars and Sevenoaks affected.

    Travellers have been advised to use buses, London Underground services, trams or some trains run by Southeastern, Southern and South Western Railway.

    Thameslink warned that services could still be affected on Tuesday and people should check before travelling.

    Northern Line Tube services through Elephant and Castle were also not stopping at the station “as a precaution” but have since returned to normal, Transport for London said.

    Elephant and Castle fire
    Trains have been stopped from travelling through the area

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