London Fire Brigade

Firefighters to observe one minute’s silence for Neasden fire victims

24 September 2011

WHAT: 600 firefighters from all over the country and London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson will be observing a minute’s silence for the six people who died in a serious house fire overnight on Sonia Gardens in Neasden. The firefighters have been competing at the UK’s biggest firefighter event at the Excel Centre.

WHY: A woman and her five children died in the fire. Firefighters wanted to show their respect to those who lost their lives in this tragic fire.

WHERE: ExCeL London, Platinum suite. Excel London. One western gateway. London E16 1XL

WHEN: The minute’s silence will take place at 6pm on Saturday 24 September. Broadcast and photographers should arrive at 5.30 at the latest to set up.

Contact: Rob McTaggart 07717157846 and Richard Stokoe 07720838351

Incident statement

Six fire engines and around 30 firefighters were called to a serious house fire on Sonia Gardens in Neasden, London, NW10, in the early hours of this morning (Saturday 24 September). The ground floor and first floor of the two storey semi detached house was badly damaged by the fire.

The Police have released details of those who have died. A woman aged 41 and five children – three girls aged 14, 13 and 9 and two boys aged 5 and 2. Two further people a man aged 51 and a girl aged 16 escaped from the house before firefighters arrived at the scene, both were injured and were taken to hospital by ambulance.

Chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, Cllr Brian Coleman, said:

“My deepest sympathy is with the family and friends of the deceased and these tragic deaths will make us even more focused on the work we do to preventing fires from happening in the first place. This Authority has seen the trend for fire deaths come down dramatically but this horrendous incident shows how destructive fire can be.”

London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said:

“Firefighters arrived within minutes of the call, they worked extremely hard and did all they could in difficult conditions. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the families of those who died in the fire.”

Fire crews were at the scene within minutes of the Brigade being called about the fire - the first fire engine was there within four minutes and the second was there within seven minutes. Metropolitan Police and London Ambulance Service crews were also at the scene.

The Brigade was called at 0050 and the fire was under control by 0250. Firefighters from Willesden, West Hampstead, North Kensington and Park Royal fire stations were at the scene. The cause of the fire is not known at this stage and is under investigation by the Metropolitan Police and the London Fire Brigade’s fire investigators.

Notes to editors

Firefighters from across the UK have been showcasing their skills and many others at a national firefighter competition this weekend. Teams from 36 fire brigades will be competing in events to see who can carry out the quickest and safest rescues.

Crews will compete in four disciplines including: extrication - cutting out trapped casualties from crashed cars; trauma – providing emergency medical care to casualties at incidents; rope rescue – rescues using rope from tall buildings, cranes or bridges and USAR, Urban Search and Rescue - rescues from collapsed buildings or confined spaces.

For more info visit www.london-fire.gov.uk/UKRescueChallenge2011