Croydon house fires prompt safety warnings over batteries

The London Fire Brigade successfully tackled a fire at a house on Whitehorse Lane in South Norwood this morning. It was the second house fire at a home in Croydon in a couple of days, in a week when the Brigade issued safety warnings over the use, charging and storage of the batteries most households use in their laptop computers and mobile phones.

The fire on St James’s Road destroyed a flat. It was thought to be caused by a battery. Pic: LFB

The warning over lithium-ion batteries came after an entire flat was destroyed by a blaze believed to have been caused by one in a flat on St James’s Road in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

No one was seriously hurt in either of the two Croydon fires.

This morning, just after 4am, four fire engines and around 25 firefighters from Woodside, Norbury and Croydon fire stations were called to the fire in South Norwood, where the roof and the first floor of a semi-detached house were destroyed and most of the ground floor was damaged. A small part of the roof of a neighbouring property was also damaged by the blaze.

Sub-Officer Steve Mewett said: “On arrival, we were faced with flames coming from the roof of the building and the entire roof and the first floor were alight. Crews worked swiftly to bring the fire under control.

“Thankfully, no one was inside at the time of the fire. We’d like to remind people to carry out a few simple checks before you head to bed. Close all your internal doors, turn off and unplug electrical appliances unless they are designed to be left on, and make sure escape routes are clear. These little things can be hugely important if you have a fire in your home.

“Remember, if you see a fire, call 999 before you film and move well away from the scene. If you don’t see any fire engines there, don’t assume someone else has made the call.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The previous blaze, at St James’s Road, was so severe that eight fire engines and 60 firefighters were needed to tackle it. The LFB’s Fire Investigators believe the fire was accidental and involved a lithium-ion battery.

They have issued the following advice:

  • Avoid storing, using or charging batteries at very high or low temperatures
  • Protect batteries against being damaged – that’s crushed, punctured or immersed in water
  • Don’t leave items continuously on charge after the charge cycle is complete
  • When you travel, avoid keeping all your items containing lithium-ion batteries together, especially on a plane. Check with your flight carrier for additional information or advice

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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1 Response to Croydon house fires prompt safety warnings over batteries

  1. Lewis White says:

    The picture in the Inside Croydon article shows a number of houses with windows that would not allow escape of a person in a fire.

    The Fire Officer mentions “escape routes should be clear”. Windows should be designed to be opened.

    Many people have died in similar houses.

    If a fire is coming up the stairs from downstairs, someone upstairs can get trapped, and overcome by smoke, or die in agony.

    It is about time that the Government woke up to the need for a total ban on all upstairs windows that would not allow escape. We need modern sash windows ideally.

    Building Regs will be need to be altered after Grenfell House lessons have been learned.
    One hopes that decision makers will look at escape from all residential dwelliongs too.

    But I won’t put money on it.

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