The Independent London Newspaper
24th March 2019

Three hours before their fire station is closed down, rescue crews save family from blaze in Camden Town

    Firefighters at Belsize Fire Station prepare to finish their final shift at the 100-year-old base. Below, the block of flats in Camden Town where the blaze began.

    Published: 9 January, 2014
    by TOM FOOT

    FIRE crews from Belsize and Clerkenwell rushed to Camden Town to save a family from a burning building this morning (Thursday) - just three hours before the stations were offically closed.

    Four fire engines and 21 firefighters battled the blaze on the fourth floor of a housing block in Oval Road, run by Genesis Housing, for an hour and a half from around 6am.

    It was the last ever shouts for Belsize and Clerkenwell stations which are being shut down following cuts ordered by Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

    Lisa Kelliher, who has two small children, lives on the fourth floor, next door to the flat in which the blaze began.

    She said: “We got rescued from our home this morning at around six o'clock. The floor was thick full of smoke. My daughter woke me up, shouting. I woke up the whole family up but I didn't know what to do. We were panicking. We were banging on the door but the firefighters couldn't hear us because of the masks they were wearing. Finally they heard us and shouted: 'Right, open the door'. They wrapped us up in blankets and took us out.”

    She added: “The firemen said if it had been an extra 20 minutes or so it would have come through into our flat.”

    The London Fire Brigade said crews from Kentish Town and Euston were the first to get to blaze, within four minutes, with Belsize and Clerkenwell following close behind. But it was a “four pump job” and 21 firefighters were needed to bring the fire under control.

    The man whose flat was on fire was hauled out of the property and taken to hospital where he was treated for smoke inhalation. No one else was injured. 

    Firefighters, who finished work at the grade II-listed Belsize Fire Station in Lancaster Grove for the last time at 9.30am, said the man was lucky to be alive. 

    Belsize firefighter Kieran Cashin told the New Journal: “Anyone with any firefighting experience will tell you the more bodies they got the better. We had to plug into a dry riser. We had to get the gear upstairs. Belsize was the command pump. They are going to tell you we had two trucks there in the right amount of time. Well, this was a four pump fire and they needed four trucks. If they were out on another shout, what would have happened?  They have reduced the cover in the area massively and they are going to fall over sooner or later. People are going to die and it's all over a budgetary constraint from a Mayor who is more interested in fireworks at New Year or bicycles.”

    An hour and a half after the fire was brought under control, firefighters were back at Belsize to say farewell to the station that is due to be sold off.

    Crews from West Hampstead turned up at the early-morning protest to support their colleagues along with retired firefighters who used to work at the 99-year-old station.

    Around 20 members of the Labour Party came to wave them off and pose for photographs with placards. Labour London Assembly Member Andrew Dismore and Cllr Abdul Hai stood on a wall and made speeches about how the cuts were putting lives in danger.

    Staff, who are being redistributed to stations across London, were in tears inside the station as they performed a private fire brigade leaving ritual. Management had not allowed them to do it outside in front of photographers, firefighters said.

    The cuts follow a £27million annual cut to the London Fire Brigade from Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

    A London Fire Brigade spokesman said police were helping to investigate the cause of the fire, adding: “If the fire had occurred after today’s station closures we would still have had the resources to deal with it quickly. The changes being put in place have been carefully planned.”

    SEE ALSO: One last look around Belsize Fire Station as 100-year-old base gets the chop in City Hall cuts


    Very sad to read such article

    Very sad to read such article. Because firefighters it really noble and very useful profession.

    • It turns out players from Australia very On my phone I have uploaded the app and now permanently in my spare time I play for real money.

    Why should they close the

    Why should they close the fire station. They have to give us 24/7 support, day and night, 24 hours a day. We do not know when the fire blazes.

    Fire service cuts

    Well done brothers blood will at sometime be on his hands and let's hope someone see sense before and Boris is identified as the pompous fool who just wants his name in the history books


    Fire engine sap axed and fire stations closed to save money for the government. This May result in a saving of £2.60 per household per yet but let me assure you that YOUR council tax will not be reduced. The only people to lose out will be the general public. We must all support the firefighters in their fight to keep stations open and pumps on the run for for our own safety. Keep up the good work firefighters. I'm with you all the way

    It's a shame...

    It is a shame that London has a Mayor who is more interested in spending money on projects like bicycles that are showing to be a waste of resources. It is a shame that because other departments have blown their budgets, the London Fire Brigade has to cut costs to prop them up. It is a shame that the mayor thinks that everything will be OK. Firefighters are paid not only for what they do, but for what they might have to do. If you cut their services, then don't blame them if they do not have the ability to do more than fight fires. If you get stuck in a lift, you better have the lift company on speed dial. Maybe in the future, those in power should start trimming funds from the top. IT IS A SHAME IT HAS COME TO THIS!

    Yeah I agree


    Fire Station Closures

    These savage cuts in Fire cover will undoubtably cause increased loss of life, injury and property damage. The savings of around £2.60 per household per YEAR will be swallowed up by increased insurance premiums. A totally unwarranted attack on the best public service, for what? Who will actually benefit? I pity the next victims of fire the outcome of their incident will undoubtably be worse than had it happened yesterday.

    Camden Town Fire

    A big thank you to all of the Fire Fighters from Kentish Town and Euston & Belsize and Clerkenwell. who rescued my daughter Lisa & my 2 Grandchildren from the fire this morning in Oval Road - it could not have been done with out all of you .........

    Camden Town Fire

    A big thank you to all of the Fire Fighters from Kentish Town and Euston & Belsize and Clerkenwell. who rescued my daughter Lisa & my 2 Grandchildren from the fire this morning in Oval Road - it could not have been done with out all of you .........

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