Online retailer Amazon has removed a number of ‘balcony barbecues’ from its website after they were linked to a fire which devastated a flat-block.

The company stopped the sale of the specific barbecues that are designed to be used on balconies following concerns they are a 'safety hazard'.

What have Amazon said about the removal of the products?

In a statement, Amazon said the products were removed when 'new evidence' came to light following a fire at a block of flats in Deptford, London.

A spokesman from the company said: "Safety is extremely important to Amazon.

"As soon as the London Fire Brigade raised concerns and new evidence about these particular products we took quick action, removed them from sale and contacted customers.

"We value the expertise of the London Fire Brigade and are committed to working closely with them and other relevant authorities on these matters.

"If customers ever have a concern about an item they've purchased, we encourage them to contact our customer service team directly so we can investigate and take appropriate action."

What happened at the flat-block fire?

The fire - which occured on Wednesday, May 16, 2020 at Childers Street in Deptford - happened after the barbecue was thrown in a plastic bag and left on the balcony.

A blaze started and damaged the fifth floor flat, as well as most of the roof of the building and part of the roof of the next door block.

Residents of the affected flat escaped uninjured but about 100 people were evacuated from the building by firefighters due to the amount of smoke.

Emma Carr, station commander from the London Fire Brigade, who was at the scene, said: “Two people left the affected flat and firefighters evacuated the rest of the block as a precaution due to the amount of smoke.

“This was a challenging incident due to the fire being in a roof hatch and firefighters worked hard to bring it under control.

“Aerial ladder platforms were used to tackle the blaze in the roof from height.”

The Brigade's 999 Control Officers took 35 calls to the fire.

A total of 12 fire engines and about 80 firefighters from Deptford, New Cross, Greenwich, Old Kent Road, Lewisham and surrounding fire stations were called to the scene.

Here are five ways to stay barbecue safe:

  • Never use a barbecue – including disposables – indoors or on your balcony
  • Be careful where you position your barbecue – we suggest on level ground, well away from anything flammable like sheds, fences, trees or tents.
  • Don't use petrol, paraffin or any flammable liquids on your barbecue – firelighters are a much safer option. 
  • Carefully supervise children – little ones can all too easily trip and fall, while older children might hurt themselves trying to help. 
  • Be pet-aware – dogs (and some cats!) love to snaffle sausages and can cause accidents getting under your feet. To be really safe, keep your pet indoors, or at least out of the immediate vicinity of the barbecue.

Who sold 'balcony barbecues'?

Amazon and gift retailer Menkind have both said they removed the items from sale and have contacted customers who had bought them.

The retailers have offered a full refund if customers return or dispose of the barbecues.

Anyone with a 'balcony barbecue' from another outlet has been told to contact the company and raise the issue if they have not already heard from them.