Page last updated at 08:54 GMT, Saturday, 2 January 2010

Two rescued from New Year's Day fire in south London

Firefighters at scene. Picture by Stephen Ford
Firefighters spent the night trying to extinguish the blaze

Two people have been rescued from flats above a south London restaurant after a fire broke out on New Year's Day.

About 40 firefighters worked for 10 hours through the night trying to put out the blaze in York Road, Battersea, after it was reported at 2115 GMT.

Both people were taken to hospital but were unhurt. A third escaped from the burning building before crews arrived.

The Little Bay restaurant is understood to have been closed on New Year's Day. The cause of the fire is unknown.

A spokesman for the fire service said most of the four-storey building was badly damaged and part of it had collapsed.

He said the fire was brought under control shortly after 0700 GMT on Saturday.

Investigators are expected to begin trying to establish the cause of the fire once the building is safe to enter.

They continued to aim water jets at the back and front of the building and broke windows to get at the blaze
Frank Keogh, eyewitness

Police sealed off a section of the busy York Road from Wandsworth Bridge to Plough Road.

BBC Sport journalist Frank Keogh, who lives nearby, said: "It was quite a dramatic scene with sirens flashing and more emergency vehicles arriving all the time from about 10pm.

"Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the building while a control tower fired water onto the higher levels.

"At one stage, there were a fire brigade command unit, ambulance incident unit, emergency doctor and numerous firefighters and police officers in attendance.

"They continued to aim water jets at the back and front of the building and broke windows to get at the blaze.

"At 5am, the roof was alight and flames could be seen from within the first-floor flats."

The restaurant, which opened in 2003 and attracted diners from all over London, is at the end of a parade of businesses including a bookmakers, newsagents, pizza parlour and Chinese takeaway.

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