No ducting the issue after grease fire at Norbury takeaway

A fire in a London Road takeaway in Norbury on Monday, which caused the evacuation of 26 people living in flats above the premises, has renewed calls for stricter safety checks on restaurant extraction systems.

Abby’s grilled: the takeaway and its ducting system were damaged in Monday’s fire

It took 10 fire engines and around 70 firefighters to tackle the fire at Abby’s Grill, causing the closure of the main London Road on Monday evening, including during the peak rush hour.

London Ambulance Service and police were also attending.

“The fire is believed to have been accidental and caused by grease igniting within the extraction system,” a statement released by the London Fire Brigade said.

The takeaway on the ground floor was damaged by fire and the ducting from the ground floor to the roof of the property was destroyed.

There were no reports of any injuries.

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “On arrival, crews saw smoke coming from the roof of a single-storey extension to the rear of the restaurant. They then discovered a developed fire within the ducting system which had spread to the roof space.

“We’d like to remind restaurant and takeaway owners to ensure they don’t have dirty ducting. If you don’t clean the ducting in your extraction system regularly, you’re at a greater risk of ducting fires.

“This is also a timely reminder of just how important it is to have working smoke alarms in your property and to test them regularly.”

Ducting issue: London Road Norbury was closed for more than three hours while emergency services dealt with the fire and residents’ evacuation

Given the number of residential properties located above fast food restaurants in Croydon and across London, the Norbury incident highlighted the fire risk facing those homes, which remain reliant on the owners of the takeaways to keep their extractor systems clean of flammable grease.

One concerned resident said, “At the moment, checking these extractors is left to the takeaway owners. But so many takeaways have people living in flats above them – these premises should be subject to stricter safety checks.”

Following the Norbury fire, the LFB issued restaurant owners with renewed safety advice.

The Fire Brigade called on all takeaway owners to ensure that they have ducting in their extraction systems “cleaned regularly”, as well as ensuring that it is correctly installed and they emphasised, “Complete your Fire Risk Assessment and make an emergency plan”.

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