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London’s cluttered communal stairwells and hallways are affected by more than one fire every day new figures reveal.
Last year there were 514 fires which affected communal areas, such as hallways, stairways and corridors, in purpose built and high rise blocks - an increase of 65 on the previous year’s figures.
Clutter like buggies, bikes, mattresses and potted plants in communal areas are either blocking residents’ fire escape routes, hampering firefighters trying to tackle the fire or can often be the cause of fires in the first place.
Incidents have included:
• A mattress and plastic toys alight in a stairwell.
• A pushchair left on the first floor landing in a block of flats, leaving the building smoke logged.
• A buggy set alight on the ground floor of a common stairwell caused smoke to spread up the single staircase blocking the escape route.
We want landlords and freeholders, who are responsible for communal areas, to do more to ensure they are kept clear. It’s their duty to carry out fire risk assessments and ensure that tenants know their fire safety plan. Residents should also report items causing blockages in hallways to their landlords.
The call is part of our Know the Plan campaign which is designed to increase fire safety awareness for both landlords and residents of purpose built high rise blocks.
London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner Steve Turek said:
“Parking a pushchair or a bike outside your flat might seem like a practical solution but in the event of a fire it becomes a dangerous obstacle.”