Firefighters called to a fire in a block of flats in Stonebridge Park last night are appealing to people to put ‘their safety before their smart phones.’
The call comes after a man from a flat in the block started filming crews on his phone as they began to extinguish the fire.
A Brigade spokesperson said: “Firefighters got the man safely out of the building but he was endangering himself and putting everyone else around him, including our fire crews, at risk. The time that they spent getting him out of the building could have affected the speed with which they dealt with the fire and any other residents in the block who needed their help.
“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. The one thing you certainly shouldn’t be doing though is standing next to the fire filming firefighters as they deal with it. People must consider safety before their smart phones!
"If you live in a purpose built flat and 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 directly affecting you as flats and maisonettes are built to give you some protection from fire. If you leave your flat you could be rushing into choking smoke or firefighters using equipment to bring the fire under control."
Four fire engines and around 20 firefighters were called to the fire in the four storey block on Monday night after a bedframe and bedding left in a hallway on the second floor of the building caught alight. A small part of the hallway was damaged by fire.
Three woman were also led to safety by crews wearing breathing apparatus from the third floor of the building which was badly smoke logged. All three were treated for smoke inhalation by London Ambulance Service. Around 50 other people left the block before the Brigade arrived.
The Brigade spokesperson added: “If you live in a block of fats it's also important to keep hallways and staircases free from clutter and rubbish like mattresses. Storing items or leaving rubbish in communal areas can block residents’ escape routes if they need to get out and hamper our firefighters who are trying to tackle the fire or reach people if they need rescuing.”
The Brigade was called at 2350 and the fire was under control by 0123. Fire crews from Park Royal, Willesden and Wembley fire stations attended the incident. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the London Fire Brigade and the police.
London Fire Brigade’s Know the Plan Campaign aims to increase fire safety awareness for both landlords and residents of purpose built high rise blocks.