Balls Pond Road fire: Blaze rips through ‘squat’ hair salon
PUBLISHED: 21:28 02 November 2016 | UPDATED: 22:11 02 November 2016
Fire tore through a hair salon in Balls Pond Road this evening, forcing families to flee their homes and shutting the busy street in the middle of rush hour.
The blaze, whose cause is not yet known, broke out at 6.15pm in the ground floor of a building near the Kingsbury Road junction.
Neighbours told how a man ran out of the shop and tried to flag down a passing 38 bus for its fire extinguisher moments before the brigade arrived.
They believe the shop may have been used as a squat, but this could not immediately be confirmed. The building had advertised £3.50 haircuts and political messages were pasted on the outside walls.
Catherine Bethune, 29, and her young family were among those who fled their flats for the safety of the Duke of Wellington pub opposite.
“My neighbour was coming back from work and saw flames beginning, so he did the alarm for the whole block,” she told the Gazette, watching the brigade work from a window seat in the pub.
She grabbed her son Luca, five, and ran out with nothing but socks on her feet.
“There was a man trying to get back into the place and stop it even though there were flames,” she said. “Passers-by were trying to stop him.
“There was a 38 coming down the road and another guy was trying to stop the bus to get a fire extinguisher.”
"Within 30 seconds there were eight fire engines and the road was cordoned off. Then there was a secondary explosion and they pushed everyone much further back. I was really amazed by the fire brigade. I’ve never seen it that close before"
The fire brigade were “amazing”, she added: “Within 30 seconds there were eight fire engines and the road was cordoned off.
“Then there was a secondary explosion and they pushed everyone much further back.
“I was really amazed by the fire brigade. I’ve never seen it that close before.”
London Fire Brigade said 100 per cent of the salon was damaged, while 5pc of the first floor and 5pc of the building’s exterior were affected.
Four fire crews spent 50 minutes getting the blaze under control. No one was reported injured.
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