'Major incident' fire forces pubs to close windows on hottest day

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Fires in Wennington: pubs forced to trade with windows closed on hottest day of the year due to smoke from fires across the capital (Credit: Getty/Chemistry)
Fires in Wennington: pubs forced to trade with windows closed on hottest day of the year due to smoke from fires across the capital (Credit: Getty/Chemistry)

Related tags Health and safety London London fire brigade

Pubs in Wennington, east London, were forced to trade with windows and doors closed on the hottest day of the year as fires broke out across the city yesterday (Tuesday 19 July).

London Fire Brigade (LFB) declared a city-wide major incident yesterday afternoon as hundreds of firefighters tackled several grass and residential fires across the capital.

However, the blaze in Wennington, which began as a grass fire around 1pm, commanded the most attention with some 15 fire engines required to tackle the inferno.

The fire, which covered around 40 hectares of grassland, caused smoke to billow in the surrounding areas and forced some pubs to operate with windows and doors closed as temperatures hit a record 40 degrees.

Licensee of the Saxon Horn, Wennington, Michael McLean, said while the venue had not been severely impacted, the smoke began to become a problem as the fire drew closer.

Affecting breathing 

He added: “When the wind blows in this direction the smoke hits us and affects your breathing, particularly my wife because at the moment she's not too well.

“Hopefully that's all it is, smoke.

“We initially closed all the windows and doors, it shouldn't impact us regarding business.

“We're surrounded by chimney pots houses, so if the fire [threatened] them or the area and estate surrounding us here, then people [would] have to be evacuated along with us.”

Furthermore, Greene King site Good Intent, Hornchurch, East London, while unaffected by the fires, was also impacted by the smoke.

A spokesperson for Good Intent said: “Fortunately, aside from a little smoke in the air outside, we were unaffected by yesterday’s fires and traded as normal.

Don't hesitate 

“We are thinking of our local community, particularly the residents and businesses who were impacted by the extreme heat and blazes”.  

LFB confirmed the fire was under control shortly before 10pm yesterday with no reports of injuries, however, four houses, two rows of terraced houses, two outbuildings, six single-storey garages, 12 stables and five cars were destroyed by the blaze with 90 surrounding properties evacuated.

While temperatures have dropped dramatically today (Wednesday 20 July), earlier this week saw highs of 40 degrees Celsius or more for the first time in the UK with emergency services having faced unprecedented challenges due to the heatwave according to LFB.

LFB assistant commissioner for operational resilience and control, Patrick Goulbourne said: “If you see a fire smouldering, please don’t hesitate to call us.

“The sooner we know about a fire, the sooner we can bring it under control and prevent it from spreading further, reducing the need for us to mobilise additional resources.”


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