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Twenty residents had a lucky escape yesterday evening (Wednesday) after a fire broke out in a disused restaurant beneath their flats on Deptford Broadway, SE8.
Batteries had been removed from a fire detection system in the restaurant and also from most of the smoke alarms on the communal staircase used by the flats above it. Occupiers in one of the flats were alerted to the fire when they smelt burning and noticed smoke passing their windows and they were then able to alert the rest of the people in the block.
Thankfully all of the people living in the flats and neighbouring buildings escaped before the Brigade arrived and firefighters managed to contain the blaze to part of the restaurant’s ground floor which was left damaged by the fire.
A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “Thankfully quick thinking residents were able to alert people to the fire when they saw smoke and smelt burning but sadly many of the smoke alarms in the building had their batteries removed. If residents hadn’t noticed the smoke coming from downstairs or if they had been overcome this fire could have had a very different outcome.
“It is absolutely essential that you have a minimum of one smoke alarm on every level of your home and test it regularly as they give you vital early warning in the event of a fire and can buy you precious time in which to get out, stay out and call 999.”
Four fire engines and around 21 firefighters and officers attended the blaze from Greenwich, Dockhead, New Cross and Deptford fire stations. The Brigade was called at 2001 and the fire was under control by 2048. The cause of the fire is under investigation.