Khan pays tribute to firefighters after busiest day in decades

London mayor says record-setting heatwave should be a ‘wake up call’, reports Joe Talora, Local Democracy Reporter

The fires at Wennington in East London and (inset) Sadiq Khan (credit Sky News)
The fires at Wennington in East London and (inset) Sadiq Khan (credit Sky News)

Sadiq Khan has paid tribute to members of the London Fire Brigade for their “incredible efforts” in tackling blazes across the city during this week’s extreme heat.

Tuesday was the busiest day on record since the Second World War for London’s fire service, as crews tackled several fires across the capital and dealt with more than 2,600 emergency calls.

At least 40 homes were destroyed by fires as temperatures peaked at 40C – the highest ever recorded in the UK – and 16 firefighters were injured, with two requiring hospital treatment.

In Palmers Green, a restaurant was destroyed in a blaze that took eleven hours to extinguish.

But the mayor of London has said the situation “would’ve been far worse” if not for the efforts of the London Fire Brigade (LFB).

Opening the Mayor’s Question Time session at City Hall on Thursday, Khan said he wished to start by paying tribute to the efforts of the fire brigade.

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He said: “Tuesday was the busiest day for the LFB since the Second World War, with more than a dozen large fires burning across our city at the same time.

“Were it not for the bravery of our firefighters and the professionalism of our emergency call handlers, there’s no doubt in my mind that the situation we faced would’ve been far worse.

My thoughts are with all those Londoners affected, especially those who lost homes and businesses, as well as the 16 firefighters who were injured and the two who had to be taken to hospital.”

Khan added that damage caused by the extreme heat this week should serve as a “wake up call” to the government as he urged more action on tackling climate change.

Earlier this week, he accused the candidates vying to be the next leader of the Conservative Party of treating climate change as “an afterthought”.

Despite cooler temperatures following Tuesday’s peak, fire crews have been dealing with several more blazes including one at a sports pavilion in Southall in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Scores of homes have been left destroyed following fires in Wennington and Dagenham, while crews were able to extinguish a fire that broke out on the top floor of a high-rise block of flats in Woolwich on Wednesday.

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