Last updated: 01/08/2019, 3:46 PM

Firefighters urge people to ensure fairy lights and candles on religious shrines are not left unattended

16/01/2019 13:47
House or flat fire

Firefighters are urging people to ensure fairy lights and candles on religious shrines are not left unattended after a fire at a flat in Wimbledon.

A resident at a block of flats in Kingston Road was alerted to a fire in a neighbouring flat after they heard a smoke alarm sounding so they called the Brigade.

Firefighters found the small fire in the ground floor flat which they believe was caused by an electrical fault in fairy lights used on a religious shrine.

Watch Manager Andy McKay, who was at the scene, said: “Nobody was in the property at the time and the door to the room where the fire started was closed, which meant the fire was well contained to that room.

“This fire could have been a lot worse but fortunately a quick thinking neighbour rang the Brigade immediately after hearing a smoke alarm sounding.

"Firefighters arrived on scene very quickly and contained the fire to the bedroom and stopped it spreading to the rest of the property.

“We would urge everyone to make sure that fairy lights are turned off if they leave their property and anyone who uses candles or joss sticks should ensure they are full extinguished when leaving the room.”

Top candle safety tips

  • Keep candles/tea lights away from curtains, furniture and anything else that can catch fire. Keep loose clothing and hair away from candles/tea lights when they are lit.
  • Always place your candles/tea lights in a suitable fire resistant candleholder
  • Make sure the candleholder holds the candle/tea light firmly and is on a flat and stable surface to stop it falling over.

Firefighters evacuated eight people from neighbouring properties as a precaution. There were no reports of any injuries.

The Brigade was called at 1347 and the fire was under control at 1422. Two fire engines and around 10 firefighters from Wimbledon and New Malden fire stations attended the scene.

Last year, the Brigade called on people celebrating Diwali to use LED tea lights rather than candles to avoid the huge fire risk from leaving candles unattended.