'Beds in sheds' fires in London cost 13 lives

Fire in a garage in Wandsworth A woman had been living in this garage under some flats in Wandsworth

Related Stories

Thirteen people have died and 69 seriously injured in fires that broke out in makeshift homes across the capital, London Fire Brigade (LFB) has said.

Since 2009, there have been 438 fires in sheds and outbuildings, where people were living in "unsafe" conditions.

Five people died in 2010-11 and four lives were lost in both 2012 and 2013.

LFB said it has taken action against landlords in the capital, serving about 200 enforcement notices.

There were 96 fires in 2009-10, which dropped to 85 the following year but jumped to 104 in 2011-12.

In 2012-13, 77 fires were tackled by the brigade while the figure rose to 97 last year.

In Wandsworth, south London, a woman living in a garage under some flats was taken to a hospital in April after a candle fell while she was sleeping, causing a fire.

Dickensian conditions

Last year, a man died after a fire in an outbuilding in Uxbridge, west London, where he had been living for six years. The shed, located at the back of a row of shops, had no smoke alarms and the man could not escape because of a broken lock.

The brigade said people living in makeshift accommodation rely on riskier ways of cooking, heating and lighting, making these homes "potential fire traps".

The LFB has launched an "unsuitable housing" toolkit, which it said will help council workers, firefighters, charities and the police identify dangerous living conditions and help people living in them.

Third Officer with LFB, Dave Brown, said: "It's a tragedy that in this day and age we've got people living in factories, sheds and outbuildings in scenes reminiscent of a Charles Dickens novel."

Vital safety features like fire doors and alarms "can be the difference between life and death", he added.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC London

Weather

London

20 °C 13 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    Black cabs 10:34: BBC London News TV

    The capital's black cab drivers are calling for greater enforcement against illegal minicab touts, who they claim are attacking their livelihoods.

    Black cab taxi sign

    A secretive "hit squad" of black cabbies has been organising protests against the touts- deliberately gridlocking parts of the West End. But police say they are tackling the problem.

     
  2.  
    'Knives off our streets' 10:24:

    Islington police tweet: 62 people arrested since Friday including 4 in possession of knives. #KnivesOffOurStreets #SayNoToKnives

     
  3.  
    London Bridge station reopens 10:08:

    Although there are severe delays on the Tube, there is some good news today for people who commute into London Bridge.

    London Bridge

    The station has now reopened to all rail services following work last week which saw First Capital Connect or Southern trains diverted away from the station.

     
  4.  
    News on the hour 09:58: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    David Cameron's preparing to announce steps to widen anti-terrorist laws to tackle the threat of Islamic extremists.

    A temporary ban on jihadists who've travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight is under consideration but opponents say making someone effectively stateless would be illegal.

    In the 1000 bulletin, Labour MP Khalid Mahmood says he thinks he knows how the government could avoid ending up in court.

     
  5.  
    Football results 09:49: Rebecca Cafe BBC News

    Arsenal drew 1-1 away to Leicester yesterday while Tottenham lost 3-0 at home to Liverpool.

    See what the results mean for their position in the league table with BBC Sport.

     
  6.  
    Travel 09:40:

    A signal failure at West Hampstead Thameslink has been resolved and services are now returning to normal.

    First Capital Connect and East Midlands Trains were affected by the delays.

     
  7.  
    Lee Rigby remembered 09:25:

    Fusilier Lee Rigby, the soldier who was murdered outside Woolwich Barracks, will be included in a national memorial for fallen servicemen and women later.

    Fusilier Lee Rigby

    His name's among 17 that'll be read out during a dedication service at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire.

     
  8.  
    On air 09:06: Vanessa Feltz Presenter, BBC London 94.9

    On today's show, I'll be asking: Do we need anti-terrorism legislation? It comes as the security threat was raised on Friday.

    Let me know your views. Call 020 7224 2000 or text 81333, starting your message with the word London.

     
  9.  
    News on the hour 08:56: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    In the 09:00 bulletin: The CBI says it's crucial that work to expand airport capacity around London starts by 2020, whichever option the government goes with.

    And Fusilier Lee Rigby, the soldier murdered outside Woolwich Barracks, is to be honoured at a national memorial service for fallen servicemen and women.

     
  10.  
    Flyover reopens 08:50: Tom Edwards Transport correspondent, London

    Transport for London says major refurbishment works to the Hogarth flyover have been completed on schedule.

    The flyover was closed for the past six weeks.

     
  11.  
    Missing girl 08:41:

    Posters have been put up all over west London in the hope of finding 14-year-old Alice Gross, who has been missing since Thursday afternoon.

    Find Alice Gross poster

    She was last seen at her home in Hanwell.

    On a Facebook group page set up to try to find her, her sister Nina wrote: "It's very important to spread the word out of Ealing to Kew, Richmond, Brentford and other west London places."

     
  12.  
    TOP HEADLINES
     
  13.  
    Hub airport 'critical' 08:28:

    A single, larger hub airport where passengers can transfer to a range of destinations is "critical" to the UK's long-term economic growth, says the CBI.

    The business lobby group said the UK was already losing out to European rivals on direct flights to emerging markets and urged action by 2020.

    Its report comes ahead of a decision on an island airport in the Thames estuary.

     
  14.  
    Weather forecast 08:17:

    Cloud will thicken through the morning and it will become quite misty in places, with some outbreaks of rain and drizzle through much of the day.

    Highs of 20C (68F).

     
  15.  
    Tube delays 08:06:

    There are quite a few problems with the Tube because of a signal failure at Edgware Road.

    • The Circle line has no service clockwise and there are severe delays anti-clockwise
    • There's also no District line between High Street Kensington to Edgware Road
    • There are severe delays on the Hammersmith and City line.

    Get up to date travel information on BBC London Travel News or on Twitter @BBCTravelAlert.

     
  16.  
    08:00: Rebecca Cafe BBC News

    Good morning, I'll be bringing you all the latest news, sport, travel and weather from London today for BBC Local Live.

    You can also send your news, pictures and comments to london.locallive@bbc.co.uk.

     

Features

  • Alana Saarinen at pianoMum, Dad and Mum

    The girl with three biological parents


  • Polish and British flags alongside British roadsideWar debt

    Does the UK still feel a sense of obligation towards Poles?


  • Islamic State fighters parade in Raqqa, Syria (30 June 2014)Who backs IS?

    Where Islamic State finds support to become a formidable force


  • Bride and groom-to-be photographed underwaterWetted bliss

    Chinese couples told to smile, but please hold your breath


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • MoviesWhat to watch

    BBC Culture picks eight top movies coming out in September

Programmes

  • Volcanic eruptionThe Travel Show Watch

    Uncovering the secrets of the Icelandic island buried by a volcanic eruption

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.