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Four fire engines and 21 firefighters and officers are dealt with a house fire on Watts Lane in Teddington.
Part of the ground floor was damaged by the blaze. There were no batteries in the smoke alarms and the alarm was raised by neighbours who saw smoke.
Richmond Fire Station Manager Lisa Hicks said:
"The batteries had been removed from their smoke alarms. Thankfully the neighbours raised the alarm and we got called quickly and limited the damage.
"Removing batteries from your smoke alarm is like playing Russian Roulette. No batteries means no detection and that could be the difference between life and death.
"Everyone should have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and the safest option is have those linked together. This will give the earliest warning if there is a fire in your home."
The Brigade was called at 1230 and 1329. Fire crews from Twickenham, Kingston and Surbiton stations are attending the scene. The cause of the fire is under investigation.