A woman had a lucky escape when she discovered a fire in her flat – believed to have been caused by an unattended candle - badly damaged her home on the 10th floor of a tower block on Abbey Road in Kilburn on Friday evening.
Watch Manager Angus Sangster who was at the scene said:
"The occupant had a lucky escape as she didn’t have a smoke alarm and the fire was pretty developed before she noticed it and called the Brigade. If she had been asleep, this incident could have had a tragic ending. I can’t stress how important smoke alarms are; you should have one on every floor of your home and test them regularly.
"As crews arrived on scene the fire was already well alight. The heat had even melted furniture on the balcony which dripped down to balconies below. Fortunately, firefighters were quick to notice the smouldering plastic and were able to stop the fire spreading along the outside of the building.
“The damage to this flat shows what havoc an unattended candle can cause. We urge people never to leave candles unattended. It is extremely dangerous to leave candles lit when you go to bed or leave the house."
The balconies of the flats below were slightly damaged by the blaze.
The woman left her flat and 200 residents also left the building before the Brigade arrived.
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. 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 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.
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.
Six fire engines, 35 firefighters and officers from West Hampstead, Paddington, Willesden, Soho, Hendon and North Kensington fire stations attended the incident.
The Brigade was called at 1934 and the fire was under control at 2106.