Firefighters issue warning after four cats found dead in house fire

Fire investigators have issued a warning to home owners about the dangers of an unattended candle or incense stick after a house was near destroyed in Thamesmead on Tuesday.

Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters tackled and controlled the fire at a house on St Brides Close, but sadly reported that four cats were found dead at the scene.

A mother and two children were reported safe, but the family's home was also badly damaged in the blaze.

The London Fire Brigade have now issued safety advice after they believe the fire was caused by an unattended candle or incense stick igniting textiles.

The Brigade were called at midday on October 6, and found the first floor, staircase and second floor alight.

Five people had left the property by the time they arrived, with no injuries reported, "but sadly four cats were found dead at the scene."

The first floor and staircase between the ground and first floor of an end of terraced house were destroyed by the fire.

Most of the ground floor and a staircase between the first and second floors and part of the second floor were also damaged.

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: "Thankfully, smoke alarms fitted inside the property were able to give the earliest possible warning to the fire, which had started in a ground floor bedroom, and provided time for the resident to escape.

"Candles, incense and oil burners are one of the most common causes of fire within homes. It's really important that you never leave a candle unattended and keep them away from curtains and anything else that can easily catch fire.

"Our advice is that you place these in a suitable fire resistant holder, which won't be knocked over, and make sure you put them out entirely when you leave the room and especially before bed."

Firefighters' top tips for safe candle use

  • Make sure you put out any candles, incense and oil burners when you leave the room and especially before bed.
  • Place candles, incense and oil burners in heat-resistant holders and placed on a stable surface where they won't be knocked over.
  • Keep them away from materials that might catch fire - that's things like curtains, furniture, clothes and hair.
  • Be aware that tea lights get very hot and without proper holders can melt through plastic surfaces like a TV or bath.
  • Led candles can be a great alternative - they're safe even if you fall asleep or forget to blow them out.

The Brigade had the fire under control by 1403. Fire crews from Barking, Bromley, East Greenwich and Eltham fire stations were at the scene.