London Fire Brigade

Investigators reveal cause of Neasden blaze as Brigade announces fire safety blitz

27 September 2011

Fire investigators from the London Fire Brigade have today released information about what they believe to be the most likely cause of the worst house fire in the capital in over a decade. 

Six people died and two people were seriously injured in a blaze that started in the early hours of Saturday morning in a two-story semi-detached house on Sonia Gardens in Neasden. Fire investigators believe that a chest freezer, which was in the hallway at the bottom of the stairs, may have caused the fire. The make of the chest freezer is not known at this stage.  

Earlier this week, the London Fire Brigade confirmed that a BEKO fridge freezer was in the house. However, this is not the same type of appliance as the one which fire investigators believe may have caused the fire and it has not formed part of the fire investigation.

Following the incident, the London Fire Brigade will be launching a fire safety blitz across the capital. The Brigade’s schools team will begin a pilot programme to visit secondary schools in Brent, the borough in which the fire happened. It already visits primary schools across the capital.

The Brigade will also be writing to every headteacher in London with fire safety advice they can give to children in assemblies. It will offer every primary school in London the opportunity of a visit, with a focus on children aged 6-7 and 9-10. Interested teachers should check the schools section of the Brigade’s website. 

Tomorrow, fire chiefs will also be launching a fire safety campaign on Facebook, which it hopes will reach one million people. The ‘Share it to Save a Life’ campaign will encourage people to share one fire safety tip with their Facebook friends every day for a week. People should visit the London Fire Brigade’s Facebook page for more details.

Today, fire chiefs are urging people to take four simple steps to protect themselves from fire:

1)          Check your appliances – if you notice any strange noises or smells coming from electrical appliances call a repair person and never overload plug sockets.

2)          Get a smoke alarm – fit it and check it regularly. One in ten homes still doesn’t have a smoke alarm. (Department for Communities and Local Government)

3)          Plan your escape  – know how you would get out of your home in the event of a fire

4)          Get out, stay out – in the event of a fire, get out, stay out. Call the fire brigade and do not attempt to tackle the fire yourself.

Assistant Commissioner for the London Fire Brigade, Steve Turek, said:

“Fire investigators will continue to piece together the tragic events of Saturday morning but early indications are that the fire was caused by a chest freezer in the hallway of the house. Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of those who died. This tragic event should focus people’s minds on how they can make their home safer. Our fire safety blitz will help people to do that. We will continue to work tirelessly to make the homes of all Londoner’s safer.

“There are four simple pieces of advice we are giving people to help keep them safe. Check your electrical appliances and sockets - if you notice anything strange, call a repair person. Everyone should make sure they have a smoke alarm and check regularly that it works. People should think about how they would get out in the event of a fire starting in their home and if it does, they should get out and stay out. Call the fire brigade and do not attempt to tackle the fire your self.”

ENDS

You can find the Brigade's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/londonfirebrigade