Orpington residents woken by ‘three explosions’ in bus depot blaze

PUBLISHED: 13:52 22 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:37 22 November 2018

11 buses at a depot in Farnborough Hill caught fire early this morning. Picture: Olivia Gantzer

11 buses at a depot in Farnborough Hill caught fire early this morning. Picture: Olivia Gantzer


Orpington residents were woken early this morning by “three loud explosions” as 11 buses at a depot in Farnborough Hill caught fire.

Around 60 firefighters tackled the huge blaze and remained on the scene for most of the morning, damping down the affected vehicles.

One resident who lives next to the bus depot and did not want to be named, said: “A loud bang woke me up at about 4am, I then heard a couple of other bangs and could smell the burning rubber.

“We looked out of the window and could see the fire - I was petrified.

“It wasn’t until this morning that I found out what had happened.”

Another neighbour added: “My dog jumped on me in the middle of the night and I heard the explosions.”

At the height of the blaze, brigade control officers took around 40 calls to the incident, the first one being at 3.36am. The fire was under control by 6.31am.

Crews managed to stop the blaze from spreading to more buses and around 30 vehicles were moved to safety.

Seven buses were completely destroyed by the fire and a further four are badly damaged. There were no reports of any injuries.

Edward Thomas, who lives on the street of the fire depot, said: “I got no sleep at all. I got woken by the noise at 4am and I couldn’t get back to sleep - it sounded like an earthquake.”

Eight fire engines attended from stations including Orpington, Biggin Hill, Sidcup and Bromley fire stations.

A woman who lives across the road from the blaze said: “I heard a big bang and thought it was someone breaking in and my boyfriend said it must be explosions.

“It was three big bangs but they were quite spread out.

“My partner leaves early in the morning, at around 4.30am and he said he had seen all the emergency services parked along the street - it was just a huge fire at the time.

“It makes sense now that we know it was at a big bus garage - I think the main thing is that nobody was hurt.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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