London-based twitterers have broken the news of a huge fire in East London.
Tweets describing the spread of a black cloud of smoke in the Stratford area of the city are the first reports of the incident – before any accounts online from the mainstream media.
The first tweet Journalism.co.uk saw on the fire came from the Guardian’s head of blogging Kevin Anderson shortly before 12:30pm. Anderson has also posted pictures to Flickr and at 12:45pm posted an entry on the events to his Guardian blog.
Again according to Twitter The Press Association has now put up pictures of fire.
Sky News are now showing live coverage on the site and a quick search on Google News suggests Sky was the first mainstream media to file on the story at 12:34pm. Sky seem to have been the first news organisation on the scene and are now providing regular updates and a map pinpointing the location of the fire.
A ticker across the top of the BBC News site promises “more soon” reporting a “large plume of smoke” rising from a fire in East London”.
A brief report on Reuters also appeared at 12:39pm.
Tweets from Martin Stabe, new media correspondent with the Press Gazette, say the smoke cloud is now covering PG’s offices based in Underwood Street. (As Martin points out in a comment below, the cloud appeared to be covering the PG’s offices, but was actually further away. Still, he updated his Twitter accordingly and very quickly.)
Was anyone covering it earlier than the Twitter correspondents mentioned here?
UPDATE: reports are that the fire began in a disused bus depot – here’s a view of what the site looked like before it started.