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With a long, hot summer predicted, fire chiefs are warning businesses to check their air conditioning systems are in good working order following two blazes caused by poorly maintained units in a week.
On Saturday, firefighters were called to an overheating air conditioning unit in a City office building, while last Wednesday, 35 firefighters tackled a blaze at a shop on Central Parade in Streatham where the air conditioning unit was again to blame.
London Fire Brigade’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Fire Regulation, Mark Andrews said: “Air conditioning units can offer welcome relief in hot weather but if they are not properly maintained they can become a fire risk – especially if they have been out of use for a while and are then suddenly switched on during a hot spell for long periods.
“You should clean or change filters regularly, as these can become clogged and lead to the system overheating. We also find that portable air conditioning units are often plugged into extension leads and electrical appliances like these, which require a lot of power, can cause plug sockets to become overloaded.”
Four fire engines and around 20 firefighters were called to reports of an air conditioning unit overheating in an office building on Cutlers Gardens in the City on Saturday evening. The Brigade was called at just before 9pm but fortunately crews arrived before any fire developed.