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With people enjoying the warm weather on their balconies and enjoying the last few weeks of the summer holidays, London Fire Brigade warns that people need to be careful disposing of smoking material and should never barbeque on a balcony. Latest figures reveal that between April 2017 to May 2019, there have been an average of 15 balcony fires per month in London.
There were 400 balcony fires in this 26 month period, of these 58 per cent were caused by the unsafe disposal of smoking material and five per cent caused by barbeques.
In June 2019 around 100 firefighters were called to a ferocious blaze at a block of flats on De Pass Gardens in Barking where arriving crews found timber balconies alight on all floors.
The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing, however, we have not ruled out the unsafe disposal of smoking materials or a barbeque being used on a balcony.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Charlie Pugsley said: “If you own a balcony with wooden or combustible decking it is vitally important to ensure that lit cigarettes or smoking materials are disposed of carefully. You should not have a barbeque on your balcony. There is often not enough space and the flame could be too close to the decking, the building or combustible items and start a fire. Fires cause a huge amount of damage and can destroy homes, they could also cost someone their life – it isn’t worth the risk.
“We also urge people to think about what they are storing on their balconies. We often see balconies with mattresses, electrical appliances or furniture being stored on them and these can all contribute to the spread of a fire, even if the fire started elsewhere.”
Fire investigators believe more than half of the balcony fires within the last two years were caused by the unsafe disposal of cigarettes. Combustible articles being placed too close to a heat source came in second place followed by barbeques.