Developer says fire at vacant Primrose Hill home was arson
Blaze building is due to be bulldozed, but demolition work may now be delayed
09 March, 2017 — By William McLennan
The scene of Monday morning’s fire in Elsworthy Rise
A FIRE that tore through a building due to be demolished to make way for a multi-million pound mansion in Primrose Hill was started deliberately, according to property developers behind the scheme.
Neighbours were awoken by the smell of smoke in the early hours of Monday morning as flames spread through three floors of the empty property on the corner of Elsworthy Rise and Elsworthy Road.
Six fire engines rushed to the scene after receiving an emergency call at 12.15am. Firefighters said they arrived to find “thick black smoke pouring from the building” and a floor that had “partially collapsed”.
Their job was complicated by security measures installed on the vacant property and they were forced to cut through a metal grille before they could fight the flames.
One neighbour said: “We have four children so it was a bit scary. The fire brigade dealt with it really well, but I was bit confused about how the fire started because the building is all locked up.”
Jonathan Seal, a director of property development firm Beaubridge, said arsonists were responsible.
“A fire was started in the early hours of Monday morning, by individual/s who broke through security shutters that were at ground and first floors, thankfully nobody was hurt,” he said.
He said the building had been due to be knocked down later this month, adding: “We hope that this will not delay the demolition but we await clearance from Camden, obviously the sooner the buildings can be demolished the better for surrounding residents.”
He added: “The buildings have now been re-secured and 24-hour security is now in place.”
Planning permission was granted in 2014 to bulldoze the existing building, which had once been two separate homes, and replace it with one seven-bed house and four luxury apartments.
Dave Waters, who was at the scene, said: “This house was empty and awaiting redevelopment and so firefighters had to cut through metal security grilles before they could access the fire.”