Firefighters were called to the Camden music venue after flames were seen billowing out of its roof shortly before 9pm last night
Firefighters have successfully saved most of Camden’s iconic music venue Koko after a fire tore through the roof of the building last night.
The London Fire Brigade were called to the venue shortly before 9pm, with eight engines and 60 firefighters working to put the fire out by the early hours of this morning. Photos and videos on social media show flames billowing out of Koko’s roof, 30 per cent of which is said to have been alight.
Confirming that the fire was under control this morning, station commander Jon Lewis said: “Firefighters quick action and hard work in the early stages meant the fire was contained to the roof and saved the rest of the building. Fire crews will remain at the scene throughout this morning.”
Heartbreaking watching the Camden Palace / Koko up in flames this evening, a building that holds so many memories and means so much to us in Camden. Incredible how quickly @LondonFire got under control, we owe them so much for their swift and courageous response pic.twitter.com/tLPS5cLwnN— Georgia Gould (@Georgia_Gould) January 6, 2020
Georgia Gould, leader of the Camden borough council and Kentish Town Labour councillor, shared images of the blaze on Twitter last night. “Heartbreaking watching the Camden Palace / Koko up in flames this evening,” she said, “a building that holds so many memories and means so much to us in Camden. Incredible how quickly @LondonFire got under control, we owe them so much for their swift and courageous response.”
The cause of the fire is currently unknown, though the London Fire Brigade are now investigating the incident. Several people on Twitter have called out the potentially suspicious timing of the fire, questioning whether it’s been purposely destroyed for an insurance claim, or to get planning permission to replace the venue – though this is all social media speculation.
Koko has been undergoing a “state-of-the-art” refurbishment and was set to open in spring this year. The building has been used as a venue since it opened in 1900 as the Camden Theatre, subsequently becoming a live music venue, initially called The Music Machine in 1977 and then the Camden Palace in 1982. Artists including Prince, Madonna, and The Rolling Stones have performed over the years, with the likes of Ed Sheeran and Ariana Grande playing more recently.