Fire destroys four-storey block of flats in south-west London, UK
A number of families have lost their homes in a huge fire that destroyed a block of flats in south-west London. Flames quickly spread to all four floors of the building in Sherbrooke Way, Worcester Park, after fire crews were called just before 1h30 on Monday morning, 9 September 2019. The blaze, which took five hours to get under control, was tackled by 125 fire fighters and 20 fire engines. No injuries were reported but London Fire Brigade (LFB) said crews remained there throughout the day.
Dean Fowler, who lives with his family on the top floor of the building, said he was woken in the night by someone banging on his door. "I then heard someone screaming 'there's a fire, get out', and I just got my boys and went," he said.
He said he had only been living in the building for three weeks and had lost "everything" in the blaze, but added: "We're alive, we're breathing, that's all that matters." Lauren Woods and Jack Edwards escaped from the top floor with their two six-month-old daughters Mia and Grace.
Louise Anns, Woods' friend and colleague, said the family had been left "devastated" having had to abandon their two cats, while their car was expected to be written off due to flooding in the building's basement. "Everything they have is in that flat, and it's gone," said Anns, who has set up an online donation page to raise funds to help them.
Another crowdfunding page has been set up for all affected residents by Worcester Park councillor Jenny Batt, who said the "amazing" response from the community meant they had already been donated large amounts of items such as clothing.
The building is made up of 23 flats and based in The Hamptons estate, an American-style complex of social and private housing which was built on a former sewage treatment works. Residents from the block and a nearby building were taken to a community centre and a collection is being organised for the affected families.
One of those, Darren Nicholson, said he woke up to the sound of "crackling" and when he opened the curtains he "saw the flames and got myself and the family out".
He said fire alarms were going off in the community areas but not in his own flat and he believed the blaze began "on the balconies".