Police investigating cause of blaze at Thornton Heath flats

Around 40 residents of a block of flats in Thornton Heath had to be evacuated last night when fire raged up the outside of the building.

The fire quickly caught hold on the outside of the housing association block

Six fire engines and around 40 firefighters were called to Crystal Court, on Woodville Road, shortly after 6pm yesterday, and had the blaze under control after little more than an hour.

No one was seriously hurt. Croydon Council staff and local ward councillors were soon in attendance, with residents placed in a hotel overnight.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the London Fire Brigade and the Metropolitan Police.

Crystal Court, which is owned by a housing association, backs on to the Thornton Heath Leisure Centre, which also needed to be evacuated as a precaution.

According to the London Fire Brigade, part of two flats on the first and third floors of the building were damaged by the fire.

A shed, a storage box and surrounding fencing and decking at the rear of a first floor flat were destroyed by the blaze. A small part of the exterior of the building was also damaged by fire.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus assisted one woman from a flat on the third floor to safety who was assessed on scene by London Ambulance Service crews. There were no reports of any injuries.

Station Commander Matt Williams, who was at the scene, said: “Crews worked extremely hard to bring the fire under control quickly and stop it from spreading to the rest of the building.”

Thornton Heath councillor Callton Young, who was soon at the scene together with colleague Karen Jewitt, said, “When fire leapt up the side of Crystal Court, my heart was in my mouth.

“It is a relief that all residents are safe. Special thanks go to Croydon Council staff who did a splendid job organising overnight accommodation for residents, including a pet cat.”


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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 inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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4 Responses to Police investigating cause of blaze at Thornton Heath flats

  1. John Harvey says:

    The photo of flames running up the side of the building shouts “Grenfell”

    Thanks to the London Fire Brigade

  2. Lewis White says:

    It looks like the exterior of the building may be cement rendering. Presumably, it was not a plastic based cladding or we would perhaps be mourning the deaths of residents.

    A good job it was not timber boarding . This was very trendy on buildings like this a few years back, but less popular now as the lovely looking golden wood goes dirty grey after a few years, and of course, the fire spread risk has been brought into sharp focus with the Grenfell tragedy.

    A previous article in Inside Croydon mentioned (Jan 4th 2021) a fire in Kenley on timber decking.

    Not a lot can be done about adult humans who burn rubbish on timber decking, other than to educate children not to do the same, but it seems that the use of old fashioned brickwork and rendered blockwork cannot be beaten when it comes to repelling fire on the outside of buildings.

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