Man burned wood in living room to heat his home, firefighters say

A fire broke out in a property in south-west London after a man burned wood on an open fire in his living room to heat his home, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) reports.

Investigators said Monday that the cause of the inferno has been identified as “involving an open fire that was used instead of gas central heating,” prompting firefighters to issue an emergency safety alert.

It is also thought to be caused by flammable objects too close to open flames.

LFB said there have been more than 100 fires with open fires, wood stoves and heaters alone in the last few months.

The property in Kingston Road, New Malden, suffered “significant damage”, said the London Fire Brigade (London Fire Brigade / PA)

((London Fire Brigade / PA))

It now fears that the rise in energy bills could result in a wave of fires as people resort to alternative means of heating their homes during the colder periods of the year.

Firefighters were called to the scene in Kingston Road, New Malden, shortly after 8:30 a.m. on April 26 after the flames spread through the property. The fire was under control at 10.30am and the house suffered “significant damage”.

The London Ambulance Service said it was treating three people at the scene where a man was taken to hospital as a priority. No further information has been provided about their injuries.

A witness said they saw the man try to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher as it started, while a police officer who happened to be passing by started knocking on the windows of the adjacent property to make sure residents came out.

A neighbor who refused to give his name told the PA news agency: “You could not see [anything] when the smoke was so thick. It was just incredible.

“I closed all my windows, and every time I opened the door to let someone in, some smoke came in the hallway.”

She added that people who took their children to school were seen getting off buses and traveling on foot on Kingston Road because of the smoke blanket.

A neighbor has temporarily moved out of his house due to minor smoke and water damage to their property, the neighbor said.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Charlie Pugsley said: “We know this is a difficult time and people are thinking of ways to reduce their energy bills, but we are really concerned that they can put lives at risk by doing so.

“If you have a wood-burning stove or open fire, follow our advice carefully. Almost 30% of fires involving wood-burning stoves, heaters and traditional open fires are due to objects being placed too close to a heat source. Always use a fire guard and hold anything that can ignite, well away, such as firewood and firewood that can be ignited by radiation of heat.

“It is also important to make sure you have carbon monoxide alarms in your home. You can not taste, see or smell carbon monoxide fumes, but it can kill in minutes.

“Do not take the risk of using treated wood on fires. Not only can they produce toxic fumes, but they are also more likely to spit embers when burning, which can set fire to nearby objects.”

The government needs to prioritize right. The government needs to get money in the pockets and of the energy bills for those with the lowest incomes

Adam Scorer, National Energy Action

Adam Scorer, CEO of Fuel Poverty Charity National Energy Action (NEA), described the incident as a “harsh and dangerous reality of the cost-of-living crisis”.

“One in four UK households is now in fuel poverty, meaning millions are facing impossible choices due to their high energy bills,” he said.

“Some choose between heating and eating, others even interrupt themselves completely, and some even start open fires.

“These are not coping strategies. These are people who feel they have no safe choice to make. Unfortunately, it will only become more common as the impact of the price rises and the reality of next winter hits home.

“The government needs to prioritize right. The government needs to get money in the pockets and of the energy bills for those with the lowest incomes. “

Last year, the government introduced new laws around fire safety with the aim of making homes and buildings safer after the fatal fire in Grenfell Tower in 2017.

A government spokesman said: “We recognize the pressure people are facing with the cost of living and that is why we have set up a £ 22 billion support package, including rebates and reductions in the energy bill.

“Anyone struggling to pay their energy bills should contact their supplier as soon as possible to work out an affordable payment plan that suppliers are legally required to accept.”

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