Staff at St Stephen's Church in Thornton Heath, Croydon fend off flames after pews catch fire
Staff saved a church from major fire damage after pews went up in flames.
St Stephen's Church in Warwick Road, Thornton Heath, was evacuated after a candle set fire to a ceiling-high curtain on Saturday morning.
The flames spread to two sets of pews but church staff managed to fend off the flames until fire crews arrived to extinguish them.
Two crews from Norbury station and one from Croydon attended the blaze, which broke out around 11.30am.
They used ladders, hoses and breathing apparatus to put out the fire, which is thought to have been started by candle brought by a member of the congregation.
The church was evacuated as a precaution but no one required medical treatment.
Shaun Howlett, watch manager at Norbury fire station, praised the church's staff for keeping the flames at bay and said they had prevented a much more serious fire.
"It was lucky that there were staff to help keep the fire at bay until we got there because it is a really big building and I have no doubt that the whole lot would have gone up in no time."
"But the staff deal with it very well and damage was kept to a minimum."
Some sacrificial timber was damaged in the fire.