Three taken to hospital after fire in Thornton Heath high rise
Three people have been taken to hospital after a fire broke out at a high rise block of flats.
Two hundred residents were told to leave the flats, in Whitehorse Road, Thornton Heath.
Ten fire crews, including about 50 fire fighters from across south London were called to the scene at about 5.30am, and the blaze was under control by 8.30am.
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus rescued a man from a flat on the fourth floor, he was taken to hospital suffering smoke inhalation.
Another man and a woman escaped before firefighters arrived, they have also been taken to hospital suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.
The Salvation Army are also on the scene.
Justin Gillett, 31 lives on the tenth floor. He said: "The alarm went off about 5.30 so we just pulled on some clothes and got out.
"I looked out the window and saw the smoke coming out of the fourth floor and people in the car park.
"Around 7am the bus turned up which was great as it was pretty cold and we got on with everyone else. Not the ideal way to meet your neighbours."
David and Eleni Groves were on the eighth floor. Mr Groves said: "it is very good to know the system works. We heard the alarm and collected in the car park.
"You could see the flames and smoke. We have friends nearby so went to stay with them and now are just waiting to see when we can get back in."
Tooting Fire Station Manager Peter Rickard is at the scene, he said: “Firefighters got to the scene really quickly and on arrival they could see flames coming from a window on the fourth floor.
"They worked incredibly hard under hot and smoky conditions to bring the fire under control and successfully rescued a man from the fourth floor.
“Fortunately there were smoke alarms inside the building which alerted the other residents to the fire.”
Firefighters from Croydon, Addington, Woodside, Norbury, Tooting, Wallington and Sutton fire stations were at the scene.
The cause of the blaze is now under investigation.
70 residents are being cared for at Whitehorse Community Centre following the blaze at Fitzroy Court.
Borough commander Chris Bigland confirmed his team rescued one occupant while two escaped along fire exits and where then treated for smoke inhalation.
He said: "We mobilised lots of resources to the scene and were able to contain the fire to one flat.
"With intense fires in confined buildings often fires can quickly spread so this was an excellent effort from all involved. Fire is never a good thing but in this case I can definitely describe this as a success."
He said contractors had begun to clear the site but could not confirm when residents would be allowed to re-enter.
A spokesman for Warwick Estates, which runs Fitzroy Court, confirmed they would work to try and get residents in their homes before the end of the day.
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