Firefighters are urging Londoners to be wary of balcony blazes after an out-of-control barbecue devastated a Deptford flat-block.

It took around 80 firefighters to bring Tuesday’s incident on Childers Street under control, which damaged a fifth floor flat, most of the roof of the building and part of the roof of the adjoining block.

Ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend, the Deputy Commissioner is writing to manufacturers highlighting concerns about barbecues marketed for use on balconies and urging the public to take care.

Deputy Commissioner Mills said: “These balcony barbecues are a staggeringly irresponsible idea and are being marketed carelessly, with hardly any thought as to how dangerous they are.

“They are an accident waiting to happen and they are even being advertised with images of wooden balconies and with the suggestion customers have a fire extinguisher nearby.

“There are many hazards which can cause balcony fires and they have the potential to be devastating with highly damaging consequences – with a risk to life and the potential for not just you but your neighbours to lose their homes.

“We understand people want to enjoy their outside space if they have it, especially at the moment while we are all spending more time at home, but please don’t think it won’t happen to you, because it can.

“We are attending on average almost four fires on balconies every week, and that figure is likely to be much higher during warmer weather.

“Don’t be the reason you and your neighbours end up looking for somewhere else to live because of your cigarette or barbecue.”

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Flames engulfed the building

Around half the 100 residents evacuated from the Childers Street tower-block are likely to be permanently displaced.

Many are being rehoused by a local housing association. 

Fire investigators believe the incident was caused by a barbecue which was disposed of in a plastic bag and left on the balcony.

There have been more than 550 balcony fires across London in the last three years.

Many balconies have flammable materials as part of their construction and are often used to store other combustible items.

Wind can also fan or carry fire sources, such as cigarettes and embers, from barbecues to lower or adjacent balconies.

Leaders of the 2nd Deptford Scouts, based opposite, have launched a gofundme page to provide essentials for residents of the affected block, none of whom were injured.

To donate to the gofundme, click here