There are very few details available about the fire, and even the establishment of Rotherhithe's earliest fire stations have been difficult to pin down to specific dates. The 1871 fire took place at a time when the way in which fires were being handled were changing, both from an administrative and technological point of view.
|The 1821 engine house, Rotherhithe village|
As far as I can tell it was the subject of a protracted insurance claim which, in 1877, was denied due to the complications of the insurance polices taken out on it. Here's a summary from the ProProfs website:
North British and Mercantile v London Liverpool and Globe (1877), more generally known as King and Queen Granaries. Summary: Dispute between the insurers regarding who should bear the loss. Merchant deposited grain at a granary owned by wharfingers. The Wharfiners insured the grain. The merchant had insured the grain as well. Following the fire claim by wharfinger, their insurer was seeking contribution from Merchant's insurance company. However, the court held that the insurer has no right to expect contribution if the persons insuring the risk are different, even if the risk insured is the same. Importance: Common Interest for contribution to arise
If anyone has any more details to add to this post, I would be very interested.