More than 20 people were forced to flee an Islington leisure centre after a sauna caught alight.

This morning - January 6 - thick smoke was seen billowing out near the Ironmonger Row Baths in Old Street.

Ten fire engines and around 70 firefighters were called to the Norman Street leisure centre at 9.41am.

Ironmonger Row and Norman Street remain closed in both directions.


London Fire Brigade (LFB) station commander David Reed, who was at the scene, confirmed around nine members of staff and 15 customers left the building uninjured before the brigade arrived.

He said: "There was smoke coming through a grill at pavement level, which has now subsided. Residents in nearby properties were advised to keep their windows and doors shut.

"Ironmonger Row and Norman Street are closed in both directions and we encourage people to avoid the area.

"Firefighters are expected to remain on scene throughout the afternoon."

The brigade confirmed the fire was under control by 12.03pm. Fire crews from Shoreditch, Islington, Euston, Whitechapel, Dowgate and Bethnal Green fire stations attended the scene.

LFB said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

A Spokesperson for GLL, which runs the leisure centre, said: “While the fire is now out, Ironmonger Row Baths remains closed until a damage assessment is complete. An update will be posted online.

“We apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused. Our other centres in Islington are open today and welcoming people who usually go to Ironmonger Row.”