Six fire engines and around 40 firefighters dealt with a fire in a lift shaft of a block of flats on Paddington Green in Paddington.
Smoke alarms fitted in the property alerted a resident to the fire, who then called the Brigade. Eight people left the building before the Brigade arrived. Firefighters led one person to safety and nine further people and a cat were rescued from a second floor balcony using an aerial ladder platform. Three women were treated on scene after suffering from smoke inhalation.
The fire was contained to the lift shaft on the lower ground floor. The base of the lift shaft and the underside of the lift car were damaged by fire.
The Brigade's Fire Investigators believe the fire was caused by the unsafe disposal of smoking materials.
A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: "Fires caused by smoking materials including cigarettes, roll-ups, cigars and pipes, result in more deaths than any other type of fire. Stub cigarettes out properly and always dispose of them carefully.
"Make sure smoking materials are cold before emptying ashtrays. Preferably wet stubs before throwing them into a bin.”
Firefighters' smoking safety tips
The Brigade was called at 1502 and the fire was under control by 1603. Fire crews from Euston, Kensington, North Kensington and Paddington fire stations attended the scene.