Residents were awoken by the sound of air-raid sirens not heard in the area since World War II.

The blaze, which started shortly before 3.30am, burned an 80 metre-long chemical processing plant on Peterboat Close near the Blackwall tunnel. Heavy acrid smoke was reported to have travelled as far as Old Kent Road two miles away.

The air raid siren was sounded as a precaution when it was believed that a nearby warehouse contained dangerous chemicals – had the fire spread these could have ignited. According to some people living in the area the siren was sounding for around 5 hours, keeping many residents awake through the night.

Fire station manager Laurie Kenny of Silvertown station in Woolwich told the Evening Standard: “The purpose of the air raid siren is that it says things are going on at the site. It is a precautionary siren because there was a possibility this would go wider than that area.”

“Our firefighters are working extremely hard to contain the fire, which has now damaged around half of a big industrial unit.” said Dany Cotton, an assistant commisioner.

“Heavy smoke has spread throughout the area and as a precaution, we want people to keep their doors and windows closed.” he continued.

The fire was reported to be ‘under control’ by 7am this morning.

Main image:  J0hngs08 / Youtube

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