LONDON – Firefighters dug through the wreckage of London's famous Camden market Sunday, trying to find out what started a massive blaze that seriously damaged the market and surrounding building.
It took 100 firefighters about three hours to put out the fire on Saturday night. The blaze sent flames high up into the sky over northern London and caused major damage to clothes and craft market stalls and to buildings such as the Hawley Arms, a pub that has been frequented by celebrities such as singer Amy Winehouse, rocker Pete Doherty and model Kate Moss.
There were no casualties.
"In a word, I'm devastated," Ruth Charles-Ridler, the pub's landlady, said as she arrived at the scene to assess the damage Sunday morning. "Everyone I've spoken to is in complete shock. This was a good community pub where everybody knew everybody else. It is a great loss to Camden Town."
The crowded commercial and residential area, complete with open markets and canals, is one of the British capital's top shopping and tourist destinations.
Sunday is traditionally the busiest day of the week for shoppers at Camden Town's shops, coffee houses, pubs and open markets.
Police kept the burned-out area closed with a cordon on Sunday morning, but allowed tourists and shoppers to use a large part of the unaffected Camden High Street commercial area.
Firefighters said it was too early to say what caused the disaster. About 40 firefighters were working their way through the remaining "hot spots" toward the center of the blaze, said senior firefighter Guy Foster. Their progress was hampered by concerns that some buildings were structurally unsafe.
Some roads, sidewalks, subway and train lines remained closed in the area.