A fire tore through a junk shop and reduced the rear of a Stoke Newington pub to ash last week.
32 residents were evacuated from their homes during the blaze, which threatened shops and cafes on Church Street in the early hours of Friday morning.
Six fire engines and 35 firemen arrived at the popular second-hand furniture store to fight the fire, which broke out at about 1am.
It took around two and a half hours to get the flames under control.
The cause of the blaze is unknown, though some residents speculated that it could have been started by a stray cigarette from the beer garden of the Gold Bar on Church Street – now reduced to cinders.
The interior of the bar was spared from the worst of the fire.
Helen Murray, a Marton Road resident and midwife witnessed the blaze.
“It was like papier maché going up,” she told The Hackney Post. “I saw an orange light and you could feel the heat. I thought the windows were going to cave in.”
Local comedian Fergus Craig, a resident evacuated from a nearby flat, posted on Twitter that the “spirit of the Blitz [was] alive and well in Stoke Newington”.
Karen Williams, 35, from nearby Lordship Road, was woken by the commotion. “It’s shocking and awful. We were all woken up at 1am in the morning. You could see what was going on and we could obviously see the fire engines.”
Residents were saddened by the loss of the furniture store, which they said brought colour to the area.
“That junk shop has been here since the 1960s. It is a bit of an institution and I’m very sad for them,” said Murray.
A spokesman from Stoke Newington Fire Station said the cause of the fire was still being investigated.