London

Croydon self-storage warehouse fire customers 'sorely let down'

Scene of fire Image copyright London Fire Brigade
Image caption At its height, about 120 firefighters tackled the blaze in Purley Way, Croydon

Hundreds of people who lost belongings in a self-storage warehouse fire have been "sorely let down", the mayor of London has said.

Sadiq Khan told storage company Shurgard he was "disturbed" by the lack of support given to customers in the aftermath of the fire.

The fire on New Year's Eve destroyed every single item in 1,198 rented units at the Croydon warehouse.

Mr Khan also criticised the lack of mental health support for customers.

Image copyright John Warren
Image caption Firefighters said tightly-packed possessions made fires in self-storage units difficult to control

In a letter to Shurgard's vice president Duncan Bell, Mr Khan said many of the fire's victims had approached mental health charities to assist them with counselling.

"I see no reason why Shurgard could not have offered to put similar arrangements in place", he said.

A major part of the customers' distress was also due to the lack of opportunity to review salvageable items from the fire, Mr Khan added.

"Given the sentimental value of some items lost, many customers would still like to have the chance to have items returned to them, even if they are damaged", he wrote.

Concerns were also raised over the scale and speed of the fire.

"The complete destruction of the building, and the apparent speed with which fire was able to spread raises significant questions", he said.

Shurgard said it had complied fully with building regulations.

Mr Khan insisted that customers should be appropriately compensated for their loss.

"I would strongly urge you to swiftly address the concerns of the customers who put their trust in your company and are being sorely let down."

Shurgard said: "We've been contacting all our customers individually to speak to them to offer our apologies and see what we can do to help."

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