Fire at Kiwi House in London
Thu, 09 Aug 2012 6:27a.m.
By Dan Satherley with NZN
An outdoor barbecue exploded into flames at Kiwi House in London this morning (NZ time).
The London Fire Brigade says two gas cylinders exploded. Three hundred people were evacuated from the building.
Photos uploaded to Twitter by Andrew Scott (@Andrew_Scott) show a blaze outside the building.
"One of the gas hoses to the BBQs caught on fire," he wrote on Twitter. "Extinguishers didn't work, since then there have been 3-4 explosions…Everybody seemed to get out quickly."
Some of the photos showed flames up to a storey high.
Brook Johnstone, 55, from Port Waikato, said: "I looked around and the gas bottle had a little flame around it.
"The cook was trying to put it out and the flame just got bigger so I just said, 'Let's get out of here.' We got inside and everyone was evacuated."
Johnstone, who is in London on holiday, said the canister exploded with such force that it blew the roof off the barbecue area.
New Zealander and Leeds University student Sonia Holland said she did not believe anyone was injured in the blaze.
The 19-year-old, from Napier, said: "They got everyone out of the building as fast as they could. I was out within two minutes."
The fire brigade later confirmed no one was injured.
"People in the vicinity reported hearing an explosion, which was due to two gas cylinders exploding before firefighters arrived on the scene," says fire station manager Richard Welch.
"Crews have now brought the blaze under control and are cooling a further two gas cylinders down to make them safe. Around 300 people were evacuated from nearby buildings and as a precaution we've set up a temporary safety cordon of around 50 metres."
The blaze took two engines and 10 firefighters to quell.
The official Twitter account for Kiwi House said the venue was now closed.
"We've had a rather large fire engulf the outdoor bbq area. Everyone is ok. We're closed till further notice. More updates as they happen."
It is not known if it will reopen for the rest of the Games.
Kiwi House bill itself as a "haven for friends, family and proud supporters of the New Zealand Olympic Team". It's located in Kings Cross, in central London, and has been a popular spot for typical Kiwi pastimes like drinking beer, watching the Games on TV and barbecues.
Olympic medal winners including rowers Eric Murray, Hamish Bond and Mahe Drysdale as well as Valerie Adams and Simon van Velthooven had visited the temporary bar, along with hundreds of fellow New Zealanders.
Ms Holland said she was not aware of any athletes in attendance at the function when the explosion occurred.
3 News / NZN
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10/08/2012 9:24:41 a.m.
We need more gold medals and not barbacued kiwi, take care guys and enjoy yourselves, NZ are proud..
9/08/2012 11:18:11 p.m.
they were just trying to get the steak well done. its all good!
9/08/2012 12:54:23 p.m.
OMG.. the first sign of trouble with explosions and it had to be the KIWIs, well done, if this wan't another sign that NZ needs to be focused on again its working....NZ once again out there beyond ones powers again, no ones fault, but things like this just don't happen for nothing...another TOHU people, another situation thats brings NZ into the light again.
9/08/2012 12:36:34 p.m.
you'll have to do better than that to make a kiwi extinct , so glad none of our kiwi's got hurt , time to do what we do best , pick up the pieces rebuild and keep the party going , theres more kiwi medals to celebrate
9/08/2012 11:18:53 a.m.
Thank you sooooo much to the chefs that alerted everyone of the fire. I was sitting a metre away from the burning gas canister and would not have noticed it if they hadn't have yelled to get out! You saved many lives tonight, you should be proud!
9/08/2012 9:45:11 a.m.
Michelle Koubaridis wrote:
Glad nobody hurt. Get back in there you fellas, show those Brits what we do at home. Good luck to all concerned with getting you back up and running! Enjoy the rest of the games, proud of all the team NZ !!
9/08/2012 8:24:10 a.m.
This might be pay back from above for some of the less than modest comments about the New Zealand performance on the medals table (up till Tuesday!).
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