London Fire Brigade

Fire survival advice given at Islington flat fire

17 March 2017

The Brigade’s 999 control officers gave vital fire survival guidance to residents trapped in their properties after a fire at a block of flats in St John Street, Islington.

The fire started in a flat on the second floor of the building and damaged half of the flat.

The Brigade was initially called by a neighbour and a total of ten 999 calls about the fire were made. Three people were given fire survival guidance over the phone by the Brigade’s control officers.

Control officers told the residents to block their doors to stop any smoke entering their property and to go to an open window. One person was led to safety by a neighbour and two women were rescued by firefighters wearing breathing apparatus.

Two people from the flat where the fire started left the building before the arrival of the Brigade.

Firefighters rescued one dog from the flat where the fire started and gave it oxygen. Sadly another dog died in the blaze.

Watch manager Graham Foskett, who was at the scene, said:

“When crews arrived, smoke was coming from one of the windows and three people were unable to leave their flats.

“Crews stopped the fire from spreading to neighbouring properties and firefighters wearing breathing apparatus forced entry into a neighbouring flat to lead two women, who were on their balcony, to safety.

“There was working smoke alarms in the property where the fire started, but they were not linked up to other areas of the building so failed to raise the alarm.”

A Brigade spokesperson said:

“If there is a fire elsewhere in the building but not inside your home you're usually safer staying in your flat unless heat or smoke is affecting you.

“Flats and maisonettes are built to give you some protection from fire – a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 60. Walls, floors and doors will hold back flames and smoke for a time. If you leave your flat you could be rushing into choking smoke, the fire itself or firefighters using equipment to bring the fire under control in another part of the building.

“Living in a flat is not more dangerous than living in a house, but it's important to know that your fire plan should be different.”

The Brigade was called at 0058 and the fire was under control at 0230. Four fire engines attended the incident, with fire crews from Islington, Shoreditch, Euston and Soho fire stations at the scene.

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