A woman and two children had a lucky escape when firefighters rescued them from a fire that had started in the restaurant below their flat on Edgware Road in Colindale last night. Their flat did not have a working smoke alarm and the woman was only alerted to the danger when she smelt smoke but by this point she was trapped in her flat. Firefighters rescued the women and children from the second floor via a ladder.
The fire started in a restaurant’s ducting (extraction) system. It’s believed that hot fat and grease in the ducting caught fire and as the ducting ran the length of the building, the fire was able to spread up through the building.
A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “If the resident hadn’t noticed the smell of smoke, or this fire happened a couple hours later when everyone was asleep, this incident could have had a very different outcome. Smoke alarms are a vital early warning sign from danger.
“Homes need multiple and linked smoke alarms or you won’t be properly covered. Ideal spots for smoke alarms include rooms where you leave electrical equipment running like satellite boxes, computers or heaters; any room where you smoke, and anywhere you charge your mobile or laptop. As a minimum you should have smoke alarms on every floor - in the hallways and the rooms you use the most, plus a heat alarm in the kitchen. They should be linked together and tested regularly.
“This fire spread via the restaurant’s ducting. This incident also serves as a timely reminder to all restaurant and take-away owners to always take care to make sure their extraction systems are kept clean as a build up of fat and grease within the filters can lead to a fire.”
Part of the ground, first floors and stairs were damaged in the blaze.
Six fire engines and 35 firefighters and officers attended the incident including crews from Hendon, Mill Hill, Stanmore and West Hampstead fire stations.
The Brigade was called at 2244 and the fire was under control by 0134.