London Fire Brigade

Heater warning after house fire in Hither Green

02 November 2017

Three people had a lucky escape after a heater, which was being kept in a storage room, was accidently switched on causing a fire on George Lane in Hither Green yesterday afternoon. 

Fire investigators believe that something accidently switched on the heater’s isolator switch and then items which were being stored on top of the heater began to smoulder and eventually burst into flames.

Worse still, the house had no working smoke alarms and so fire was able to develop for some time before one of the occupants thankfully smelt smoke. All three people were able to escape without injury.

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said:

"Always unplug unused heaters and other electrical items, it’s surprisingly easy to accidently knock a switch on. It’s also crucial to have working smoke alarms in your home. Never leave it to chance that you will discover a fire.

“Everyone should have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of their home and test them regularly. This will give the earliest warning if there is a fire in your home.

Shockingly over two thirds of fatal fires involving heaters are caused by clothing or furniture being too close.  People need to ensure all heaters are standing upright and kept well away from clothes, curtains or furniture."

The Brigade’s advice for portable heaters

  • Secure heaters against a wall to stop them falling over, or fit wall-mounted heaters  
  • Keep heaters away from clothes, curtain and furniture  
  • Sit at least one metre away from a heater as it could set light to your clothes or chair, especially if you fall asleep
  • Always turn off your heater and allow it to cool before moving it

Part of the first floor and a small part of the roof were damaged by fire in the two storey property. The Brigade was called at 1626 and the fire was under control by 1807.  Four fire engines and around 20 firefighters and officers from Lewisham, Lee Green, Greenwich and Deptford fire stations were at the scene.