A bird started a fire in a flat in Stockwell last night, the London Fire Brigade believes. Fire investigators think a bird nicked a smouldering cigarette butt and dropped it into a nest in the roof area, causing it to catch light.
Fire investigation officer Matt Cullen, who examined the scene, said:
“When we got up into the roof, we were baffled as there were no obvious ignition sources – no one had been up to there for a long time and there were no electrics that could have sparked a blaze. We looked everywhere, but the smoking gun was found when we discovered a partially burnt birds nest. Neighbours told us they often saw birds flying in and out of a hole in the roof. We believe that one of the birds picked up a cigarette butt that was still smouldering and dropped it into the nest, causing it to catch fire and set the roof alight.
“The incident is a great example of why it’s important to put your cigarettes out fully – you never know what might become of your smouldering butts! Luckily for the residents, their neighbours saw the smoke and raised the alarm, so fire crews could get in quickly and bring it under control.”
Four fire engines and 21 firefighters and officers went to the blaze on Landor Road in Stockwell. The Brigade was called at 2223 and the fire was under control at 0039. The fire damaged around a fifth of the roof area but no one was hurt. Nine people escaped the building before crews arrived.