London Fire Brigade

Busiest time in recent memory for Brigade

13 August 2011

New figures released today show that London’s firefighters dealt with over 100 serious fires related to the recent civil disturbances in the capital.

Estimates show the Brigade attended 109 fires in properties where lives were believed to be at risk. Fire crews were also called to hundreds of fires affecting cars, bins and grass land. The Brigade’s 999 Control Officers received more than 5,000 emergency calls over a four day period from Saturday, 6 August.

The busiest time for control staff came between 6pm on Monday and 7am on Tuesday where staff answered 2,168 calls.

That Monday evening saw huge blazes in Enfield, Croydon and Clapham Junction. Serious fires were also attended in Ealing, Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich, Merton and Southwark.

Fire crews are still at the scene of the Sony Warehouse in Enfield which, at its height, saw 11 fire engines and around 55 firefighters tackling the blaze. Builders started to dismantle the warehouse on Friday giving firefighter’s better access to the deep seated pockets of fire that remain at the site.

During the civil unrest on London’s streets ten firefighters were injured. A woman firefighter was attacked and had her scooter stolen as she was on her way to work in Clapham. Another firefighter was attacked as he left Battersea Fire Station and suffered bruised ribs. Eight fire engines had their windscreens smashed and two senior officers’ cars were attacked.

London Fire Commissioner, Ron Dobson said:

“This has been one of the busiest and most unpleasant periods the London Fire Brigade has ever faced. I’d like to pay tribute to our staff and other emergency services who have remained professional and dignified in the face of adversity.”

The Brigade has launched an arson prevention guide urging businesses to take extra measures to protect themselves as the threat of disturbances across the capital continues.

The advice calls for business owners to take extra steps above and beyond the normal precautions including that they:-

Block letterboxes.
Remove window displays
Reschedule deliveries of combustible materials

Notes to Editors

The Brigade tweets from @LondonFire about major incidents as they happen across the capital.

Arson prevention guide can be found here