London Fire Brigade

Firefighters warn of spike in smoking-related fires

There has been a 20% increase of smoking-related fires in London homes, the city's fire brigade has warned.

Lit cigarette

There were 315 fires between 20 March and 22 July due to cigarettes not being disposed properly, London Fire Brigade said.

It compares to 260 in 2019 during the same period.

Deputy assistant commissioner Charlie Pugsley said: "Lots of people have been working from home and staying indoors more, which might explain why we have seen a spike in smoking-related fires."

On 28 May, four people were rescued and more than 100 residents escaped when a blaze ripped through a block of flats in Hadleigh Close, Bethnal Green.

Investigations revealed the fire was caused by the unsafe disposal of a cigarette.

Mr Pugsley added: "If you can’t quit, it’s always safer to go outside to smoke, but make sure cigarettes are put right out and disposed of properly.”

Bow house blaze: Four engines at the scene

Firefighters are currently dealing with a house fire in east London.

Four engines were called to a property on Bruce Road in Bow at about 10:15.

The blaze has spread to a room on the third floor, said London Fire Brigade.

It is not known if there are any injuries.

Trapped kitten named Dusty freed by firefighters

A "shaken and very thirsty" kitten was rescued by firefighters after it became trapped in a wall cavity at a shop in Balham.

London Fire Brigade said it was called to Balham High Road on 22 July to save the three-week-old animal.

Crews from Tooting fire station used a disc cutter and sabre saw to cut away parts of the wall in order to save the kitten - named Dusty - with the rescue taking about 50 minutes.

Rescued kitten being held by a firefighter
London Fire Brigade

Firefighter Matt Harrold, said: “When we got her out she was very shaken and thirsty, but after she was checked over and had a cuddle and a drink of water she calmed down.

“We would always encourage people to call the RSPCA in the first instance if they see an animal stuck or in distress.

“Firefighters love animals too and we are always happy to assist if our specialist equipment is required, as in this case.”

Jack and Tom Binder have joined forces to battle the pandemic together.
A London firefighter joins his paramedic brother to help fight coronavirus on the front line.