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London Fire Brigade ‘exceptionally busy’ taking high number of weekend calls

An London Fire Brigade logo from the side of a fire engine at a Fire station in East London (Aaron Chown/PA)
An London Fire Brigade logo from the side of a fire engine at a Fire station in East London (Aaron Chown/PA)

London Fire Brigade (LFB) had an “exceptionally busy” weekend, taking more than twice as many calls as usual and tackling several significant weather-related incidents across the capital.

999 control officers took more than 1,337 calls on Sunday, while 964 calls came in on Saturday.

On average, LFB usually takes around 450 calls a day.

The UK has been experiencing a heatwave with a record-breaking high of 40.3C in Coningsby, Lincolnshire, on Tuesday.

Summer weather July 19th 2022
Firefighters at the scene of a blaze in the village of Wennington, east London, last week (Yui Mok/PA)

That day the fire service saw its busiest day since the Second World War as a result of the extreme temperatures, taking 2,670 calls and attending 1,146 incidents.

An LFB spokeswoman said: “The weekend was exceptionally busy with firefighters attending several significant weather-related incidents across London.

“Although the temperature has dropped, grasslands will still be extremely dry.

“We don’t want people to be complacent and that means avoiding barbecuing in parks and open spaces, ensuring cigarettes are properly disposed of and clearing away rubbish and glass as they can magnify the sun and cause a fire.”

The LFB said there was a fire in Wanstead on Sunday that was caused by a disposable barbecue and a fire in East Ham on Thursday which was caused by the unsafe disposal of smoking materials.

Firefighters also shared cooking safety tips after a house fire on The Drive in Ilford that was believed to have been accidental and caused by cooking.

An LFB spokesman said: “Fires are more likely to start in the kitchen than any other room in the home.

“It’s really important that you don’t leave cooking unattended and never leave fabrics, such as tea towels, near to a cooker or a hob, because they can catch alight very easily and flames can spread quickly.

Summer weather July 20th 2022
A burned out car after a blaze in the village of Wennington, east London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“Remember, if you have to leave the kitchen, turn off the heat.”

On Sunday, the Brigade said it was dealing with significant incidents in Enfield, Hayes and Thamesmead and urged people to cancel all planned barbecues, remove rubbish, especially glass, from grassland and dispose of cigarettes properly.

On Monday morning, four fire engines and around 25 firefighters tackled a flat fire in Church Road in Isleworth, west London.

Around 15 people were led to safety as a precaution and a man was taken to hospital as part of a four-room flat on the third floor of the building was damaged by fire.

There were also four fire engines and around 25 firefighters tackling a house fire in Mortlake Road in Ilford.

The whole of the ground floor of a terraced house was destroyed by fire and half of the first floor was also damaged by the blaze.

Two children were led to safety before firefighters arrived, while another man and a teenager also left the building before the Brigade arrived and were taken to hospital.

On Monday morning, it released information about incidents firefighters dealt with at the weekend, including a number of grass fires.

Grass fire near Wanstead Flats
Police warned people to avoid the Wanstead Flats, in Epping Forest, north-east London, due to ‘very heavy smoke’ coming from the ‘tinder-dry’ grasslands on Sunday (London Fire Brigade/PA)

They tackled a flat fire in Willcott Road in Acton, a fire at a house in Coronation Road in Plaistow, a house fire in Stockwell Park Road in Brixton, and a fire in Junction Road in Islington.

On Friday, four fire engines and around 25 firefighters tackled a fire at a bungalow in Shepherds Close in Chadwell Heath.

A range of garden sheds and around 10 metres of garden fencing were destroyed by fire.

Temperatures across the south-east of England reached 29C on Sunday, according to the Met Office.

Images of blackened ground were tweeted by the fire service after the Enfield grass fire at Rammey Marsh over an area of 20 hectares was brought under control.

Some 70 firefighters were sent to the grass fire in Cranford Park, Hayes, where around five hectares of grass and shrubland were alight and smoke spread across west London.

Meanwhile, dark smoke could be seen rising into the air in Thamesmead as fire engines, the fire boat and around 65 firefighters dealt with a grass fire in Defence Close.

A total of 16 homes were lost last Tuesday in the large fire in Wennington, east London, and fire crews had to fight to save the fire station itself, located nearby, from the flames.