Man jumps between fifth floor balconies to save himself from blaze

By Davina Hyde

Six people were rescued from a fire at a block of flats in the early hours of Saturday morning.

One choking man even had to jump across a five-floor drop from his smoke-engulfed flat to his neighbour’s balcony to escape the fire, in a basement in Great Suffolk Street, Southwark.

Around 80 people had fled the building before the firefighters arrived.

A total of 15 fire engines and 100 firefighters tackled the blaze, but two vehicles were on fire by the time crews arrived, and four further vehicles were damaged in the basement.

Half of the basement was also destroyed in the flames, which took two-and-a-half hours to bring under control on Saturday.

The alarm was raised by a neighbour who saw smoke coming across their window, and the first call was logged at 12.50am. There were then 30 calls from neighbours alarmed at the spread of the flames.

Borough Commander Lee Sandy said: “Firefighters used fire escape hoods to rescue four people from the building.

“Crews wearing breathing apparatus also rescued a further two people. They were treated on the scene by London Ambulance Service crews.

“Crews worked incredibly hard to bring the fire under control, and Southwark Bridge Road was closed while crews worked to make the scene safe.”

Firefighters came from Lambeth, Dowgate, Old Kent Road and surrounding fire stations to attend the scene.

The fire escape hoods provide members of the public with up to 15 minutes’ protection from four of the main fire gases (carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen chloride and acrolein) and can be worn by conscious or unconscious people.

If more than 15 minutes’ protection is required another hood can be given to each wearer.

They do not provide oxygen but temporarily filter toxic smoke to make breathing easier.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Fire Brigade and the Metropolitan Police.

Pictured top: The scene in Great Suffolk Street on Saturday


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