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Fifty people have been rescued by firefighters from a fire in a block of flats on Appleford Road, North Kensington this morning. Crews rescued two people from two balconies via a ladder and led the rest to safety through the building.
Around 60 firefighters and officers tackled the blaze and control officers gave fire survival guidance to trapped occupants while they waited for firefighters to arrive.
Station Manager Jim Smith who was at the scene said:
“A flat on the fourth floors was completely alight and smoke was pouring from a window. Control officers did a brilliant job keeping residents calm and ensuring those who were trapped or couldn’t move were in the safest place while firefighters reached them. Crews worked quickly to bring the fire under control and rescue 50 people.
"Living in a flat is not more dangerous than living in a house, but it’s important to know what your fire plan is and how you’d escape if a fire did break out.”
Liz Hymns Control Operations Manager said:
“Our job is to keep people calm and make sure they are in the safest possible place. We took nine fire survival calls during this incident, we gave residents reassurance and made sure they were in the safest place. For example in one call, a woman couldn’t move from the back bedroom but we got her to describe the lay out of her flat so that when firefighters arrived they knew exactly how to find her.
“Obviously, when you speak to people in this situation they are scared and looking for reassurance. It’s the most amazing feeling in the world to hear the relief in their voices when they hear firefighters breaking into their flat and they know they are going to be rescued."
Sixteen people were taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service as a precaution. The whole of a two roomed flat on the third floor was damaged by fire.
Eight fire engines from North Kensington, Willesden, Kensington and Chelsea and Paddington fire stations were in attendance.
Earlier this year, London Fire Brigade launched a campaign called Know the Plan designed to improve awareness of fire safety for the residents of high rise buildings and purpose built blocks, such as this one in North Kensington and to encourage landlords and housing providers to act on their fire safety responsibilities.
The Brigade was called at 0854 and the fire was under control at 1017. The cause of the fire is under investigation.