London’s Iconic Koko Venue Suffers Serious Fire Damage; 60+ Firefighters Battle the Blaze

London's Iconic Koko Venue Suffers Serious Fire Damage; 60+ Firefighters Battle the Blaze

Photo of Koko Venue by Philafrenzy (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Eight fire engines and about 60 firefighters battled a blaze at London’s iconic Koko Venue, where many famous artists have performed over the years.

The London Fire Brigade said that the blaze badly damaged the building, and it has completely destroyed the dome on top of its roof. But it has caused no injuries.

Built in 1900, the building was originally called the Camden Theatre and is close to the Mornington Crescent underground station. In 1977, it became a live music venue under the name The Music Machine. It soon afterward became popular with new wave and punk bands.

In its storied history, the venue has hosted artists such as:

  • The Rolling Stones
  • The Clash
  • Prince
  • Madonna
  • Coldplay
  • Ed Sheeran

The venue was also the last place former AC/DC frontman Bon Scott was seen before he died of alcohol poisoning in 1980.

It was currently closed while under reconstruction, which was scheduled to have been completed by spring of this year.

Jon Lewis, who is a station commander, said that they brought the blaze under control at about 2:30 a.m. local time. He added, “Firefighters’ quick action and hard work in the early stages meant the fire was contained to the roof and saved the rest of the building.”

Jonathan Smith, who is a brigade official, said, “Hard work and dynamic action has helped prevent significant escalation and fire spread.”

Olly Bengough, who is the owner of the Koko Venue, indicated that he was “deeply saddened” by the fire.

But Bengough added, “We’ll be doing our best to get the redevelopment of this iconic building back on track.”

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Oliver Cooper, who is a local councilor, said of the fire: “Hugely grateful to [the London Fire Brigade] for their swift response, but devastated by the potential loss of such a huge part of Camden’s culture.”

Authorities are right now investigating how the fire started.

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