A huge fire has broken out near Elephant and Castle train station.
Dramatic photographs have flooded social media as the incident was unfolding on Monday around 1.45pm.
A massive plume of black smoke could be seen rising across the capital’s skyline.
Ten fire engines and around 70 firefighters were on scene to tackle to blaze.
Underneath the railway arches three commercial units, four cars and a telephone box had caught fire in the incident, London Fire Brigade confirmed.
Fire could be seen exploding out of the side of the station, in a video taken by a bystander.
Among the witnesses, one wrote: “Lots of black smoke, then an explosion and large fireball erupted.
“I’m now engulfed in black smoke so can’t see any more.”
Others added: “Jesus Christ, scenes from Elephant and Castle fire. #London.”
London Fire Brigade urged Londoners to avoid the area as emergency crews attended the scene.
They tweeted: “Ten fire engines and around 70 firefighters are attending a fire at railway arches near to #ElephantCastle railway station.
“Please avoid the area and close all doors and windows.”
They added: “Three commercial units underneath the railway arches are completely alight and four cars and a telephone box are also alight near #ElephantandCastle Railway Station.
“Road closures are in place and people are advised to avoid the area and keep windows and doors closed.”
Ambulances were also attending the scene.
A restaurant worker near to Elephant and Castle station was evacuated after the fire.
Alex Leckie, 30, assistant manager at Tupi, said: “The entire building was evacuated, we began to smell smoke and the store owner went to check, we saw smoke billowing out and what I’m told is the mechanics were on fire, the smoke pillar started enveloping the apartment blocks as well and we kept hearing intermittent bangs.
“The police have indicated it could be some time (until they are allowed back inside). They have repeatedly pushed the crowds back even from the Castle Square Park and cordoned off the roads, there is a very, very heavy presence.
“At this point emergency crews have everyone well clear of the area.”
“All lines through Elephant & Castle are currently blocked. The fire brigade are assessing the situation,” Thameslink tweeted.
National Rail have said trains have been delayed from stopping at Elephant and Castle station.
It remains unclear whether anyone has been injured in the fire.
Network Rail added: “Trains are currently stopped, unable to proceed in the Elephant and Castle area.
“Emergency services are on site and we await confirmation that the area is safe for the passage of trains.”
Southwark Playhouse have offered to take anyone in who has been evacuated from the fire.
The local theatre wrote on Twitter: “We are aware of the fire at Elephant and Castle and we hope everyone is OK.
“If you’ve been evacuated and need somewhere to go our door is open for you to charge your phone, have some water or take a seat in our bar.
“We are 77-85 Newington Causeway - two minutes from the station.”
The London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: "The fire is at the garages next to Elephant and Castle station rather than the station itself.
"Trains have been stopped to the station.
"Ten fire engines have been sent at present and 70 firefighters. There are four cars alight at the garages and a telephone box.
"There are some cylinders involved but we are not sure at this stage what they contain. Crews will be looking to remove the cylinders because they can explode with heat. They are working to remove them and close them down.
"We will have more information as the situation develops."
Metropolitan Police is aware of the incident.
The incident isn’t believed to be terror related, police said.
A Met spokesperson told The Evening Standard: "Police were called at approximately 13:47hrs in response to a fire on Elephant Road, SE17.
"Officers and the London Ambulance Service are supporting London Fire Brigade at the scene. There are significant road closures in place and the public are advised to avoid the area.
"The station has been evacuated and residential evacuations are taking now place. At this early stage, the incident is not believed to be terror related."
Network Rail station at Elephant and Castle has been closed due to the fire while some London Underground services remain open, according to a TfL spokesperson.
He said: "The Northern line is not stopping at Elephant and Castle but the Bakerloo line is running as usual. The northern line entrance has been closed but the Bakerloo line entrance is not affected and remains open.
"Staff are present to make sure people are in a safe place alongside police."