Fire in Walters House

A major fire started on the balcony of a first floor flat in Walters House, at approximately 12.30 on Saturday, completely gutting the property, leaving no more than a charred shell.

Sixty firefighters rushed to the scene, which caused scenes of thick black smoke from the uPVC windows and could be seen from the surrounding area.

Most of the residents of Walters House were evacuated from Walters House to the nearby Jack Hobbs Club, which was opened by the tenants and residents association, to act as a refuge for displaced residents, and the London ambulance service set up a triage service to treat them.

Cllr Evelyn Akoto, and Nat Stevens, (LB Southwark Resident Services Manager), and his team from the council arrived on the scene to help coordinate support for residents.

Nobody was present in the flat when the fire started, and the fire brigade confirmed that the fire started on the balcony.

It is not confirmed what caused the blaze, but one theory is that it may have been a discarded cigarette butt, thrown from a flat higher up.

We have to be thankful that there was no loss of life, and that when the Brandon was built, building and fire regulations were much more stringent than today, and that the fire containment between flats is of a high standard.

This does raise two very serious points.

We need to make sure that no resident throws lit cigarette butts over the balconies, and also to ask residents to try and clear their balconies, especially making sure that there is not anything flammable left there.

It was shocking to see just how quickly the uPVC windows went up in flames, and also the sheer volume of thick black toxic smoke that was generated from just one set of these windows.

Some residents had to be treated for smoke inhalation, as they made their way down the emergency stairs, to safety.

The first floor flat was reduced to a charred concrete shell, and the resident, who has lived there for the last 19 years, has lost absolutely everything.

We have launched a ‘Go Fund Me’ page to help him get back on his feet: