A huge fire has completely destroyed two boatyards and vessels on an island in the Thames.
Massive blaze destroys boatyards on Thames island. The blaze ripped through two Grade II listed boatyards on the island in South West London. The fire broke out on Platt’s Eyot in Hampton at tea-time yesterday.
Witnesses said they heard loud explosions in the area. Boat owners tried to get as near as they could to help firefighters who had to make their way there on water.
Dr Phil Weir, a naval historian, said “This is an incalculable loss of of maritime and naval heritage. The yard was where the RN’s Motor Torpedo Boats were first created in the First World War and I gather at least one of the Dunkirk Little Ships (DLS) was under restoration there and has been lost.”
Despite valiant attempts to save the DLS Lady Gay it was totally lost in the fire. Speaking to the Standard, witness Dominique Bouchard said “It was very upsetting but people were calm.
I was still quite a distance. Then I ran into the vicar from St Mary’s church in Hampton who came out to see if anyone needed help. I heard a few people talking about how devastating this is for the businesses on the Eyott and of course losing unique historic architecture and structures is also very sad. It was very worrying that people were injured but there didn’t appear to be any severe injuries.”
Dr Weir went on to say “There were several small boats that were trying to get close. I saw one with a firefighter on it. Lots of people wanted to help but you don’t want to get in the way of the professionals. At one stage a gas canister must have exploded.
When you see how many motorboats were tied up and on the island, you can see how dangerous it could be for anyone nearby. Each of those boats, I imagine, had diesel or some fuel that could ignite and cause an explosion.”
Firefighters were on the scene battling the blaze well into yesterday evening. A spokesman for the London Fire Brigade said “Firefighters tackled a fire at two single-storey industrial units on the island, which were completely destroyed by the fire.
The only access on to the island was via a footbridge, therefore firefighters have carried all of their equipment to the scene by hand.
A number of gas cylinders were involved in the fire, they were cooled and removed by firefighters as some cylinders can explode when exposed to heat. Some of the nearby boats have been moved from the area as a precaution.
One man has been treated at the scene for smoke inhalation by London Ambulance Service crews.”