Seventy firefighters tackle blaze at historic swimming baths

Crews tackle the blaze on Ironmonger Row. Photograph: London Fire Brigade

Firefighters are tackling a fire in the basement of an iconic Islington swimming baths.

Customers and swimmers left Ironmonger Row leisure centre before fire crews arrived just after 9.40am this morning.

Ten fire engines and 70 firefighters are dealing with the blaze at the council-owned leisure centre inside a Grade II-listed building.

Station commander David Reed said: “Around nine members of staff and 15 customers left the building uninjured before the brigade arrived.

“There was smoke coming through a grill at pavement level, which is now subsiding.”

He advised residents living nearby to keep their windows and doors shut.

The pool in Norman Street is run by Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) for Islington Council. There was a £17m restoration of the gym, 30-metre swimming pool, 15-metre teaching pool and original Turkish baths in 2012.

There is also a spa at the centre.

The building opened in 1931 as a communal wash house before it was converted into a pool with a Turkish bath.

It is popular with residents and office workers.

Ironmonger Row and Norman Street have been closed whilst fire crews from Shoreditch, Islington, Euston, Whitechapel, Dowgate and Bethnal Green fire stations deal with the incident.

The cause of the fire will be investigated by the fire brigade.