NZ barbecue blaze forces 700 people to be evacuated

Up to 700 people were last night evacuated from New Zealand’s Olympics hospitality house after a fire.

Emergency services were called to attend at Kiwi House near King’s Cross in central London after a gas canister being used for a barbecue exploded.

Hundreds of New Zealanders who have come to London for the Games had gathered for a party before the blaze started. Brook Johnstone, 55, from Port Waikato, said: “I looked around and the gas bottle had a little flame around it.

“The cook was trying to put it out and the flame just got bigger so I just said, ‘Let’s get out of here’. We got inside and everyone was evacuated.”

Mr Johnstone, who is in London on holiday, said that the canister exploded with such force that it blew the roof off the barbecue area.

New Zealander and Leeds University student Sonia Holland said she did not believe anyone was injured in the blaze.

“They got everyone out of the building as fast as they could. I was out within two minutes,” said the 19-year-old.

A spokesman for London Fire Brigade said the blaze broke out just after 7.20pm yesterday.


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