About 20 people evacuated from homes after stray firework sparks fire in back garden in Tooting

Up to 20 residents had to leave their homes just after midnight when a stray firework sparked a fire in a rear garden outbuilding on Monday.

The fire caused extensive damage to the structure and damaged a gas pipe, sparking fears of an explosion in Church Lane, Tooting.

Wandsworth council’s emergency team arranged for a nearby community centre to be opened so that residents could be given shelter.

The rest centre remained open until just before 2am when the fire brigade said it was safe for people to return to their homes.

The council’s housing spokesman Cllr Kim Caddy said: “Our emergency team is on stand-by 24-hours-a-day to react to incidents like this when residents need urgent help and support.

“The team deals with around 45,000 calls a year in response to all kinds of unforeseen incidents, which can include fires, floods and gas leaks, dangerous buildings, chemical spills and even unexploded wartime bombs.

“Fortunately these residents were able to return home reasonably quickly but it must have been a worrying time for them.

“I’m just pleased that we were able to offer them support while the fire brigade dealt with the fire and gas leak.

“If the residents had not been able to return to their homes the council would have arranged emergency hotel accommodation to those needing it.

“We would have remained on scene and offering support for as long as was necessary.”

Residents who need emergency out of hours help can call the council’s emergency control team on 020 8871 7490.

Pictured top: A stray firework caused the fire in Tooting


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