A man was rushed to hospital last night after a crash in Bromley Road, Downham, just hours before a fire tore through a launderette on the same stretch. 

London Ambulance Service (LAS) said it was called just before 10pm last night (July 28) to reports of a road traffic collision.

A man, thought to be in his 30s, was taken to Kings College Hospital with a serious head injury. 

An LAS spokeswoman said: "We were called at 9.46pm on 28 July to reports of a road traffic collision on Bromley Road.

“We sent a single responder in a car, an ambulance crew, a duty officer and the medical team from London’s air ambulance in a car to the scene.

“We treated a man reported to be in his 30s for a serious head injury. He was taken to Kings College Hospital as a priority and escorted by the Doctor from the air ambulance.”

Just hours later, at approximately 4.30am, 21 firefighters from Bromley, Beckenham, and Orpington were tackling flames at a launderette not far from where the collision occurred.

Fire investigators explain the blaze is likely to have been caused by "self-heating within clothing that had been laundered, dried and folded into a pile before the shop closed yesterday evening."

It is said these types of fires often involve textiles that become contaminated with oil, most commonly linseed but occasionally massage and cooking oils on tea towels, tablecloths and chef whites.

Gary Pratt from the brigade’s fire investigation unit said: “Sometimes when materials are cleaned, put in tumble dryers and then folded and stacked, the heat from the tumble drying cannot escape.

"This can result in a high enough temperature allowing it to build up to a point where it smoulders and eventually ignites.

“If you are washing and then drying on a hot cycle, always use the cooling cycle on the tumble dryer so it cools down and allow the heat to dissipate properly, before stacking laundered items together.”

LFB said people in a flat above left before the incident and nobody was injured, with the fire under control within an hour. 

Transport for London (TfL) said the A21 road, between Downham Way and Oakridge Road and close to Beckenham Hill, was shut off in both directions during both emergencies and police were on the scene directing traffic.