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Major blaze at housing block in south-west London


Firefighters battled a major fire in a block of flats in south-west London in the early hours of this morning 

Twenty fire engines and around 125 firefighters were called to a fire at a flat in The Hamptons, a New England-inspired development in Worcester Park, Sutton.

Fire crews were met by an ‘intense fire’ burning on all four of the building’s floors as well as its roof.

The fire service said no injuries had been reported but images revealed the building had been heavily damaged.

The Hamptons is an award-winning development of 645 homes masterplanned by JTP for Berkeley Group brand St James.

According to the project description, the design takes its cues from New England, UK and Scandinavian ‘timber boarded architecture’ for a ‘veranda living culture’.

Fire brigade group manager Rick Ogden, who was at the scene, said: ‘On arrival, crews were faced with a well developed and intense fire. 

‘This was a challenging fire involving all floors of a four-storey building. Firefighters worked hard to bring the blaze under control. 

‘Firefighters will remain on scene throughout the day (Monday, September 9). We would urge people to avoid the area if possible and for residents in the immediate area to keep their windows and doors closed.’

The architect and developer have been approached for comment.


Readers' comments (12)

  • The Regulations and the detail design should have prevented this fire spreading to burn down the whole building.

    We need urgent action to stem the number of fires which could have easily been prevented, and which put fire-fighters lives at risk.

    There were a number of fires leading up to Grenfell, and then the two fires at the 'Mac'.

    I know architects get little chance these days to influence materials and detailing, but the profession should stand up and campaign loudly against the diminution of standards of fire prevention.

    C'mon RIBA !

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  • Industry Professional

    I agree.
    For the whole building to go up in flames suggest something has gone drastically wrong with the measures that restrict the spread of a fire, be it in the way a specification was changed or materials not being installed properly for whatever reason or even due to ill-advised alterations soon after completion.
    If no one has been injured or worse then this must be regarded as the closest call possible for the industry. Let us hope it does not take years to find out what went wrong and that news is not silenced by legal proceedings.

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  • Are most regs not targeted at saving lives rather than property? How quickly did the fire fighters get there?

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  • testing

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  • The BBC's reports of the fire starting on a balcony, and a top floor resident saying the only alarms were in communal areas, add to recent evidence of very serious problems of design and regulation (and maybe even construction quality management) that demand immediate government attention.
    And architects can't assume that conforming to the regulations will ensure building safety.

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  • Rain screen timber cladding is an accident waiting to happen. As also is the application of timber roof boards fixed over battens..
    The Building Regulations need scrapping and the adoption of the IBC (International Building Code) made a priority.
    Occupancy separation seems not to be on the Fire Services radar; Is this not addressed in the Building Regulations? This fire should never have spread as it did.
    The silly fashion of slapping on timber cladding and planks wherever a surface presents itself must cease. Wood is a wonderful material but, quite frankly, UK designers seem entirely unfamiliar with its characteristics and appropriate usage.

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  • I had a look at the building before it burnt down and the whole development looks rather strange "New England" style housing in London?

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  • I believe that the poor quality of fire protection is a general problem in new build properties. Lenders ultimately carry the risk and it would seem to be in their interests to ensure that purchasers of any property obtain an independent fire survey from a reputable specialist surveyor. These people do exist, eg Arnold Tarling. The cost of the survey could be deducted from the purchase cost, and if a survey reveals serious problems, the vendor ought to be made to pay (by legislation) the cost of the survey whether or not the purchase proceeds. This would protect lenders and the public.

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  • This seems largely a ‘London problem’, and one of history repeating itself. When the old timber London burnt down in the Great Fire, legislation on materials (ie introducing mandatory brickwork) and spread of flame detailing measures were introduced. Could something be learnt from this in the overcrowded sh1thole that modern London has become? Otherwise it seems that yet more casualties are imminent.

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  • Stop using combustible materials in construction. Plenty of non flammable systems and materials out there. There is no excuse for specifying such products

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