A gas explosion and huge fire "gutted" a Deptford arts boat.

Eighty-one firefighters battled the fire which destroyed the Royal Navy minesweeper in Deptford Creek at the rear of Brookmarsh Industrial Estate in Norman Road.

Members of the public called London Fire Brigade after hearing an explosion on Thursday (January 5) night, which is thought to have been caused by a propane gas cylinder.

One man left the boat before the brigade arrived, and a man on a neighbouring boat was led to safety by firefighters.

News Shopper: Boat on fire Greenwich

Photo: Stuart Nolan

Stuart Nolan, who lives in a nearby flat, was alerted to the fire after hearing a "thud".

He said: "An hour and a half before it kicked off I could smell burning plastic, then I saw the flames and called the fire brigade.

"The factories were all locked so they [LFB] were squirting the water over the buildings.

"It just kept going and going and going."

The permenantly moored boat was home to the Minesweeper Collective and housed a studio, art gallery and events space.

No one was injured in the fire.

Station manager Norman Perry who was at the scene said: “Crews worked extremely hard to extinguish the fire and safely remove around ten other cylinders on the neighbouring boats to prevent the fire spreading further.

"Crews are using an aerial platform and water jets to extinguish the fire and steady progress is being made.” 

At its height, 999 control officers received 57 calls from members of the public.

Fire crews from Deptford, Greenwich, New Cross, Lewisham, Bethnal Green, East Greenwich, Lee Green, Peckham and Old Kent Road were at the scene.

The brigade was called at 11.09pm and the incident was over at 2.53am.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Did you see what happened? Call 01689 885 725 or email jessica.clark@london.newsquest.co.uk.