Shirley and Mitcham grass fires add to litany of call-outs

Despite a full-on media campaign last week to try to persuade the public to take special care in the capital’s tinder-dry parks and open spaces in the exceptionally hot weather, the London Fire Brigade were called out to “a large number of small fires” at the weekend, including incidents near Mitcham Common and close to Ashburton Park.

The Brigade said it also tackled “significant blazes” in Leytonstone and Enfield, but today issued a statement which amounts to a litany of disappointment, with call-outs to a list of grass fires, many of which might have been avoidable.

On Saturday afternoon, four fire engines and around 25 firefighters were called to a grass fire on Coleridge Road, Shirley. Around five acres of grassland was destroyed by the fire. The Brigade was called at 3.49pm and the fire was under control by 4.25pm. Fire crews from Woodside, Beckenham and Croydon fire stations attended the scene.

On Saturday evening, an area of grassland and trees was destroyed by a fire on London Road in Mitcham. The Brigade was called at 7.36pm and it took nearly an hour and a half to get the fire under control. Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters from Mitcham, Norbury and Wallington fire stations attended.

Then, on Sunday afternoon, firefighters tackled a fire at a house on Hartley Old Road in Purley which LFB said it “believed to have been accidental and caused by hot works being carried out on the roof”.

Part of the fascia and soffits of a detached house were damaged by the fire, as well as part of the rear garden. Fire engines from Purley, Croydon and Norbury had the fire under control in less than an hour. There were no reports of any injuries.

Fires in open spaces are expected to remain a threat to public safety for some weeks.

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said today: “Despite our continued warning over the last few weeks, we know there are still people who are barbecuing in parks, dropping cigarettes out of car windows and leaving rubbish lying around.

“We are asking Londoners to help us protect the city we all love by doing everything you can to prevent further grass fires. Please don’t barbecue in open spaces or balconies, throw your rubbish away safely and put your cigarettes out properly.”

And with thunderstorms forecast in the next 48 hours, the LFB is gearing itself, and Londoners, for another onslaught of call-outs. “Londoners also need to prepare themselves for the potential risk of flash flooding, as the ground is so dry even a small amount of rainfall could result in a flash flood,” the Brigade spokesperson said.

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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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