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‘Flames were flying out of the window’: Firefighters tackle blaze in St Luke’s Estate

PUBLISHED: 17:57 19 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:13 20 May 2020

St Luke's Estate fire. Picture: Christopher Reeves

St Luke's Estate fire. Picture: Christopher Reeves

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Sixty firefighters tackled a blazing flat on an estate off Old Street on Monday, May 18.

St Luke's Estate fire. Picture: Christopher ReevesSt Luke's Estate fire. Picture: Christopher Reeves

The maisonette flat on the sixth and seventh floors of a block on St Luke’s Estate in Bath Street was destroyed by the fire, and part of a four-room flat on the eighth floor was also damaged.

Around 80 tenants evacuated the block before firefighters arrived and put out the blaze – and no-one was reported injured.

London Fire Brigade (LFB) investigators believe the fire was caused by sunlight which refracted off a mirror and ignited curtains in the bedroom.

John Usher, 47, who has lived on the ground floor for 20 years, told the Gazette: “It was scary, just horrible to see it going up and catching the flat above. Everyone was wondering whose flat it was.

St Luke's Estate fire. Picture: Christopher ReevesSt Luke's Estate fire. Picture: Christopher Reeves

“All of a sudden there was an explosion – flames were flying out of the window.”

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John said Bunhill ward councillor Troy Gallagher and St Luke’s Estate resident Cllr Una O’Halloran helped calm everyone at the scene, and firefighters did an “amazing” job.

He also said Islington Council’s head of neighbourhood services Billy Wells was “brilliant” in sourcing temporary accommodation for those who needed it.

Fire brigade responds to St Luke's Estate fire. Picture: Christopher ReevesFire brigade responds to St Luke's Estate fire. Picture: Christopher Reeves

Another tenant, Nicola Rodrigues, tweeted: “Be grateful for life, you never know what’s around the corner. Thankfully no one was hurt [and the London Fire Brigade] did a fantastic job.”

Cllr Gallagher told the Gazette: “We had a fire on St Luke’s Estate last night. Everyone was out in about seven minutes. There were no fatalities, thank God. I’m grateful to the London Fire Brigade, police and Billy Wells and his estate team.

“I understand three individuals lived in the flat that was burned, and they were at work.”

Cllr Gallagher said ten to 20 people had to be housed in temporary accommodation last night, but it was hard to get hotel spaces due to the lockdown so some people were sent to Chelsea and Westminster.

A fire broke out  in a flat on St Luke's Estate on May 18. Picture: Nicola RodriguesA fire broke out in a flat on St Luke's Estate on May 18. Picture: Nicola Rodrigues

An LFB spokesperson said: “These sorts of fires are not as rare as you would think, fires caused by refracted sunlight can happen all year round and are actually quite common.

“Our advice is to make sure that you keep mirrors, crystals, glass ornaments and other reflective items out of direct sunlight at all times.”


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