Firefighters are still at the scene damping down the wreckage.
Fire engines and firefighters are still in Purley Way, where the fire broke out at 7.37pm and burned for several days.
At the fire’s height, 20 fire engines and around 120 firefighters were on the scene.
Our video shows excavators, one of which is slowly dismantling the building, and a large crane by the site.
Small patches of smoke are still rising from the wreckage and a fire crew is still there damping it all down – six days after the fire started.
It looks like the crew are focusing on the site closest to the tram tracks first.
In pictures: Demolition work starts on Shurgard Purley Way after devastating fire
Mum-of-one Lisa Gray was celebrating the New Year with her family when her son, Riley, heard a helicopter overhead.
She has been waiting for a permanent house for a few months and kept all her belongings in Shurgard’s storage unit while she was staying with friends and family until the move.
She watched on in horror as the building burst into flames.
“I heard a fire engine but [at first] I thought it was just a road accident,” said the 37-year-old. “I looked out and saw thick black smoke and thought that’s too big to be a house fire.
“I was thinking please don’t be Shurgard. I walked up a bit and it was a little bit bad.
“[But] as soon as [the flames] hit the cladding it was like something out of a movie.
“My whole house contents and stuff that is irreplaceable were in there. All my bedroom stuff, living room and kitchen things.
“I put it there thinking it would all be safe. This is just gutting, I have cried so much I just feel emptiness.”
Dozens of parents, families and business owners lost their belongings in the fire and among the worst-hit were Croydon couple Stephen and Gemma Webb.
Gemma cares Stephen, who has Parkinson’s disease, while they run an antique business together in the borough.
They had stored their best stock in the Purley Way warehouse over Christmas after their former landlord doubled their rent and left them with no choice but to move.
The fire destroyed everything they had at their business, Emporium 168, including antiques collected “over years and years”, dealing a huge blow to their livelihoods.
“This has made all the shaking worse, I bump into a lot of stuff and can’t do things like write, I just don’t know what to say,” said Stephen, 57.
“Vintage clothing collected over years and years was there, some of it was her mother’s, we can’t replace them – once it’s gone it’s gone and trying to find new stock takes time and money.
“All the best stuff has gone. There is still a bit of stock but none of it is the good stuff and they’re not worth much. We will probably end up dumping it.”
A Croydon dad-of-two lost his wife’s wedding dress and his entire collection of photos of his daughter’s growing up.
Family man Norman Noel woke up to the horrifying news on New Year’s Day that every momento he’d collected and stored had gone up in flames.
Living in a two-bedroom flat with no loft or garden meant Norman stored his huge collection of CDs, family mementos and equipment in a 40ft unit, believing they were safe and sound.
“I woke up at 6am this morning and saw all the reports of a huge fire nearby on social media. Then I realised it was Shurgard. I live fairly close to the premises and we can see plumes of smoke,” he told My London.
“Only yesterday I was in touch with the business to discuss renewal fees and now here I am realising everything I had in there is gone.
“I don’t have the means to store these items at home, I don’t have a garage, so everything you can think of was in there.
Among the irreplaceable items lost are all the mementos Norman and his wife, Heather, kept from their children growing up, including photos from the baby’s scans.
They also lost first photos of them after they were born – plus wedding photos and the bride’s dress.
Norman spoke of how his grown-up daughters, Courtney 23, and Estelle, 18, achieved a lot growing up and all their certificates and achievements were kept safely stored away.
Mum-of-two Dionne Griffith, 49, also lost almost everything she owned in the blaze.
She said: “I sold my place around three or four years ago. They had a good deal going so I happily moved my stuff [into the storage unit] and then I hear that it’s burning.
“I came out but couldn’t see anything. I thought it was Matalan but then my friends said it’s Shurgard. Everything is in there. My furniture, presents, pictures. Everything you’d have in a home.
“I could buy some stuff again but some just wouldn’t have the same meaning as they were given to me as gifts. I had all my kids’ stuff there from when they were babies.”
The fire started at 7.37pm on New Year’s Eve and continued well into the night.
With nobody inside the building at the time and no injuries reported, firefighters had little choice but to contain the fire and stop it from spreading to other buildings or nearby houses.
London Fire Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner, Graham Ellis, who was at the scene, explained why containing the fire has been so challenging.
He said: “As you can imagine, self storage units are generally full of items like furniture which when packed tightly provide a lot of materials to burn and so these sorts of incidents tend to create large fires that burn hard for a long time creating a lot of smoke.
“That said, firefighters have worked hard to ensure that while the fire is burning, it is contained and won’t spread to nearby buildings.
“Currently, a thick plume of smoke is rising from the fire and while most of it is dissipating in the air, it is visible and locals will certainly smell it so do keep windows and doors shut.
“Self-storage units are technically very difficult fires to manage. As well as the fire loading, it’s difficult to know what is being stored which is another reason why we will have lots of appliances in the area.”
The tram tracks nearby have been out of action ever since the fire started and there is still no service between Church Street and Mitcham Junction.
Purley Way was completely closed in both direction for more than a day but roads gradually reopened.
You should still take care and try to avoid the area while the building is brought down.
There was a lot of anger and frustration over the self-storage centre’s silence in the aftermath of the fire.
Customers with belongings in the warehouse waited nearly 24 hours for Shugard to break their silence.
Desperate to find out more information, Shugard customers repeatedly called the helpline number listed on the website – but no one picked up.
As 70 firefighters remained at the scene as the fire raged on New Year’s Day, Shurgard’s webpage for contact details for the Purley Way centre seemingly disappeared.
Customer Chris Holmes said: “We are devastated at the thought we may have lost the whole contents of our house and no support from Shurgard does not help – they have however deleted Purley Way from their website!”
A spokeswoman for the storage company told My London: “The page was taken down so that nobody can make any new reservations at the Croydon store.”
In a statement on January 3, Shurgard said: “A fire at Shurgard’s Croydon Purley Way property took place on the night of 31 December 2018.
“Given the catastrophic nature of the fire, which has completely destroyed the building, we are very thankful that no one was injured.
“Due to the devastation caused by the fire, following meetings at the scene, contents of all storage units should sadly be considered as fully destroyed and it has been decided that the building needs to be demolished for safety reasons.
“Shurgard would like to place on record its sincere thanks to the London Fire Brigade and the Metropolitan Police Service for their tireless efforts over the last few days.
“In common with all Shurgard properties in the UK, the Purley Way store was fully compliant with all national building regulations.
“We continue to collaborate closely with the LFB, the local police department, and our insurance company, in order to identify the source and cause of the fire.
“Over the last two days (2nd and 3rd of January), our team has managed to reach the majority of the 1,198 customers personally by phone or face-to-face, to explain the situation and answer any questions they may have – including any insurance-related questions.
“We would like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding over the last few days. We expect to have reached everyone before the end of 4 January.
“At Shurgard, we require all our customers to have insurance cover for their belongings. Customers have the option of purchasing insurance cover offered at Shurgard, or through their own broker.
“The value of insurance cover is based on each customer’s declared value. Policies offered through Shurgard are fully flexible – this means that customers can choose to adjust their insurance cover at any time as they add/remove any of their belongings in storage.
“We know that this is a devastating event for all our customers. We remain committed to updating them, and providing support, for as long as necessary.”
On January 2, they tweeted: “Following the devastating fire at our Croydon Purley Way location on December 31, we are reaching out to each of our individual customers – as promised.
“Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragic event and we remain committed to keeping all our customers up to date.”