Prompt action saves lives from fire in South Croydon flats

Firefighters rescued a man and led a family to safety from a flat fire on Dornton Road in South Croydon in the early hours of this morning.

Part of a flat on the first floor of a converted detached house was damaged by fire. One man was taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service crews.

Leading Firefighter Tracy Doyle, who was at the scene, said: “On arrival, crews saw a family at a window at the top of the property.

“Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus went into the building and rescued one man from inside his flat who was taken to hospital.

“Firefighters also led a family to safety from a flat on the third floor. Two children were given fire escape hoods before crews led them and a man and a woman out of the building via an internal staircase.

“They were all checked over by London Ambulance Service crews at the scene.”

Fire escape hoods provide members of the public with up to 15 minutes protection from four of the main fire gases – carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen chloride and acrolein. If more than 15 minutes protection is required then another hood can be given to each wearer. They do not provide oxygen but temporarily filter toxic smoke to make breathing easier.

It took three fire engines and their crews less than an hour to get the fire under control

The Dornton Road fire is believed to have been caused by cooking that was left unattended.

“Thankfully, there were working smoke alarms fitted in a top floor flat, which sounded and alerted the residents who then called 999,” Leading Firefighter Doyle said.

“Never leave cooking unattended on the hob or grill. This is also a timely reminder to make sure you should have working smoke alarms in every room where a fire can start, plus a heat alarm in the kitchen and the bathroom.”

The Brigade was called at 4.22am and the fire was under control in less than an hour. Three fire engines and around 15 firefighters from Croydon and Woodside fire stations attended the scene.

Firefighters’ tips for safer cooking:

  • Don’t leave cooking unattended on the hob or grill – if you have to leave the kitchen, turn off the heat.
  • Try to keep the oven, hob, cooker hood, extractor fan and grill clean – built up fat and grease can ignite and cause a fire.
  • Double check the cooker and hob are turned off when you’ve finished cooking.

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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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