A retired Royal Navy minesweeper permanently moored in Deptford was gutted by a huge blaze which also spread to a neighbouring houseboat.
Twelve fire engines and 81 fire fighters and officers were called to a fire on the vessel in Deptford Creek behind Brookmarsh Industrial Estate in Norman Road shortly after 11pm last night.
Around 57 emergency calls were made by members of the public many of whom heard an explosion thought to have been caused by a propane gas cylinder. One man left the minesweeper before the brigade arrived and another man on the neighbouring houseboat was led to safety by fire fighters. Fortunately no one was injured in the blaze.
Station manager Norman Perry who was at the scene said: “Crews worked extremely hard to extinguish the fire and safely remove around ten other cylinders on the neighbouring boats to prevent the fire spreading further. Crews used an aerial platform and water jets to extinguish the fire and steady progress was made.”
Fire crews from Deptford, Greenwich, New Cross, Lewisham, Bethnal Green, East Greenwich, Lee Green, Peckham and Old Kent Road were at the scene.
The cause of the fire which was brought under control shortly before 3am this morning is under investigation.