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Shopkeepers startled by 'big bang' as fire takes hold above a hairdressers in North Finchley
Shopkeepers heard a “big bang” before seeing black smoke billowing out of windows above a hairdressers in North Finchley last night.
Firefighters were called to tackle the blaze above The Orchid Retreat hair and beauty salon, in Ballards Lane, at 7.50pm.
Serkan Kocak, manager at The Green Shop convenience store, said: “I was inside the shop with a colleague when we heard a big bang. It was loud - I thought it was a car crash at first.
“When I went outside the windows from the top floor were all coming down and falling on the ground.
“There was a lot of dark smoke and people were shouting.”
Police closed off Ballards Lane while approximately 30 firefighters tackled the blaze in the three-storey building.
The fire was under control by 9.20pm and there were no reports of any injuries.
The road has been reopened, but the smell of smoke is lingering and bits of blackened ash are scattered on the pavement.
The second floor, which is believed to be used for offices, was badly damaged by the fire and part of the roof was also affected.
The cause of the fire is under investigation but it is thought to have started accidentally.