70 families evacuated after serious fire in Thornton Heath block

Around 70 families were evacuated from their homes yesterday after a serious fire in Sycamore House, council housing on London Road in Thornton Heath.

Emergency services: several residents of Sycamore House needed treatment for smoke inhalation

Five people were taken to hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation, though none were thought to be in a serious condition; there were no others known to be injured.

The fire started in a three-roomed flat on the second floor of the six-storey block, and according to one local caused “considerable damage to three flats”.

Sycamore House is a former office block, bought by the council and converted into flats to provide homes for those who would otherwise be in temporary accommodation.

Those evacuated last night were given shelter by a nearby church and at the local leisure centre, while Tesco and McDonald’s both provided some meals and drinks.

According to the London Fire Brigade, eight fire engines and around 60 firefighters were called out to deal with the blaze.

The LFB say that the flat where the fire started has been “destroyed”. “Half of the corridor on the second floor was also damaged by the blaze.”

“Fire crews wearing breathing apparatus rescued two women and one child using fire escape hoods.

“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). They were assessed on scene for smoke inhalation by London Ambulance Service and taken to hospital.”

Offer of help: ward councillors have stepped in to help assist those evacuated

The Brigade was called at 1pm and the crews had it under control by 3pm. Fire crews from Norbury, Croydon, West Norwood, Woodside, Mitcham and Wallington fire stations were at the scene.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

“The residents of Sycamore House will need lots of support over the days and weeks ahead and as local councillors we will be there to help in any way we can,” said Labour Councillor Stuart King.

This morning, the council announced that the emergency rest centre had closed, and that accommodation had been found for all displaced residents at hotels or with friends and family. “Council teams are checking everyone is safe and well, and working with the police and Fire Brigade to assess when the building will be safe to return,” they said.


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3 Responses to 70 families evacuated after serious fire in Thornton Heath block

  1. Ian Kierans says:

    Do the families need anything to assist them from the wider community? Is there a co-ordinator a person can contact?

  2. Julia Toppin says:

    Yes, I was going to ask this.

    • The council has just updated its advice on its helpline:

      Our helpline for Sycamore House residents is open until 10pm: 020 8726 6000 ext no 20113. If you need urgent help after that time you can reach us on 0208 726 6101.

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