A teenage boy suffered burns to his arms and stomach when his deodorant sprayed into a candle and exploded into a fire that destroyed his family’s home.
Atrin Behazadi, 13, was putting on deodorant in his bedroom when it hit a tea light candle and sparked a blast.
Dozens of families fled after the blaze at the 20-storey block on Westbridge Road in Battersea, south London, yesterday at around 8pm.
Ten fire engines and 70 firefighters tackled the blaze and got it under control in around an hour by 9.05pm.
Atrin’s mother, Sarah, 43, a dental technician, said: ‘It was my flat that caught fire.
‘Both windows exploded and the door was blown off its hinges. It was broken in half.
Dozens of firefighters tackled a blaze that broke out on the 20th floor of a tower block on Westbridge Road in Battersea, southwest London. Atrin Behazadi, 13, was putting on deodorant when the spray hit a tea light candle and exploded
The London Fire Brigade said a woman escaped from the property before rescuers arrived and is being treated for possible smoke inhalation. Atrin was rushed to hospital with burns on his stomach and arms and 50 other people living in the tower block were evacuated
‘My daughter was the one who called 999 and told them about the fire.
‘I went to do a quick shop when my daughter Atis called me and said, ‘Mum, something exploded’.
‘My son, Atrin, was spraying himself with deodorant in his room and it hit a tea light candle.’
She added: ‘I’m so proud she acted so quickly. She’s saved so many lives.
‘The paramedics told my son to wrap himself in a blanket so he wouldn’t go into shock.
‘They both went downstairs but I was already in the lift so when I got there, they weren’t there. I thought that was it, it was done, something had happened.
‘He’s okay now, but the doctors have told me to keep an eye on him in case he gets a fever.
‘The smoke alarm in the apartment didn’t work and there aren’t any in the corridors.’
Her daughter Atis, 15, said: ‘I was in my room and suddenly my door burst open. I saw a bright light from the flame and heard him scream.
‘I was paralysed for a few seconds but then he burst into my room. He said his body was burning and that we needed to get out.
‘The fire calmed down, but there was still a flame on the cabinet. I wanted to put it out but there was glass all over the floor.
‘I called my mum and 999 immediately.’
The windows of the flat on the 20th floor were ripped out by the fire, which burnt out 80 per cent of the three-bedroom property
Station Commander Pete Johnson, who was at the scene, said: ‘Crews were faced with a lot of smoke issuing from the top of a block of flats on arrival’
The fire was declared to be under control at around 9.05pm, approximately an hour after the first 999 calls came in
Firefighters tackling the blaze last night. Haji Safiya Mayow, 53, a housewife who lives on the 19th floor said she ‘couldn’t hear any alarms’. Her son Idris, 30, said there were ‘no extinguishers, no alarms, no fire exits or signs anywhere’ in the building
Downstairs neighbour Diane Gray, 61, said she was the first to attend to the boy after the explosion.
‘I could hear the boy going ‘ah, ah, ah’ and running up and down in their lounge,’ she told MyLondon. She said the skin on the side of Atrin’s stomach had started to peel off.
Paramedics rushed Atrin to hospital with burns on his stomach and arms and 50 other people living in the tower block were evacuated.
Pictures taken from outside the block showed huge flames and clouds of smoke billowing out of the flat’s windows.
Crews said the fire, which has since been brought under control, had affected a three-bedroom flat, with almost 80 per cent of the property on fire.
Those who fled the building said no alarms went off and there were not any extinguishers in the building.
Wandsworth Council spokesman Charlie Masson-Smith told MailOnline this was because extinguishers could give the impression residents should fight a fire themselves and alarms were not needed in communal areas ‘because that’s not where fires happen.’
He said none of the Council’s buildings had fire alarms or extinguishers.
He dismissed the need for more fire safety measures and added ‘no one suffered any serious injury’, even though 13-year-old Atrin suffered burns that left his skin peeling off.
He said: ‘Trained firefighters tackle fires, that’s why there aren’t alarms.
‘All these buildings are designed to confine the fire to one single dwelling. The building’s safety features did exactly what they were supposed to do.’
He said it was best to stay put in the event of a fire to minimise the chance of colliding with a firefighter coming up the block’s stairs.
He said it was ‘not a question of fire escapes’, although he maintained the building did have fire exits and the Council supplied smoke detectors.
He said five flats were affected by the fire and the Council had offered them alternative accommodation, although added ‘it’s up to them if they want to take advantage of that’.
A statement from Wandsworth Council on general fire safety measures in the housing it provides said: ‘Fire extinguishers are not provided in the communal areas of the building. We cannot, and would not, expect residents to fight fires.’
Haji Safiya Mayow, 53, a housewife who lives on the 19th floor said: ‘I was watching TV in bed when my son came and told me I needed to leave the building
‘I just put a jacket over my pyjamas and went downstairs. There was smoke everywhere and it was difficult to breathe.
‘I have asthma and I was running down the stairs, all 20 flights. I was shocked and scared and my legs were hurting.
‘I just wanted to save my life.
‘I couldn’t hear any alarms and there were people everywhere running. When I came out there were hot ashes and bits of glass falling from the sky.
‘I was crying because my son Idris stayed upstairs to help my neighbour. I told the firemen “my son is upstairs – you need to get him out”‘.
Fellow resident Claire Walsh, 33, said it was a ‘pretty traumatic night’. She added: ‘Everyone was screaming, kids were out here in pyjamas’
Her son Idris, 30, said: ‘They need to put a hose or something in the building because last night there was nothing. No extinguishers, no alarms, no fire exits or signs anywhere in this building and the other blocks.
‘We’ve spoken to the council about the safety of the building before but nothing was done about it.
‘We were told to put detectors in our flats but there aren’t any in the corridor. I stayed with my neighbour who is 86 years old and in a wheelchair.
‘The lifts were disabled because of the fire so she couldn’t get out. Luckily they managed to contain the flames otherwise she would have died.
‘Her daughter who’s in her 40s or 50s also has mobility problems.’
Claire Walsh, 33, also lives in the block where the fire happened.
She said the initial blast ‘sounded like glass being sent down the chute, just something being put in the bin.
‘Obviously that was the windows being blown out. Then we heard fire engines. They came and could see them rushing around.
‘Everyone was screaming, kids were out here in pyjamas.
‘People [were] being escorted out, some of us being told to stay in. It was a pretty traumatic night.’
Ten fire engines and around 70 firefighters fought the blaze at a block of flats on Westbridge Road in Battersea
Student Ishika Deb, 20, who lives in a neighbouring block of flats, said: ‘I heard a bang and glass smashing. I went out and saw there was glass on the floor. Then I heard a bang and looked up and saw fire.’
She said she heard a couple of bangs then noticed that ‘ash was coming out’.
Rangy Raphyugaz, who lives on the fourth floor of the building, said that as he went outside glass was falling from the 20th floor and cut his arm.
‘I was sitting in my house listening to music and heard a lot of noise in the hallway,’ he told MyLondon.
‘I went out and people were saying there was a fire. I quickly went back and banged on all my neighbours’ doors shouting “fire, fire, fire!”‘
The accident came as fire brigades across Britain warned about the dangers of lighted candles this week.
Station Commander Pete Johnson, who was at the scene, said: ‘Crews were faced with a lot of smoke issuing from the top of a block of flats on arrival.
‘There was also lots of visible flame which has prompted a high number of calls to our Control Officers.
‘Firefighters worked quickly to bring the fire under control.’
The Brigade’s 999 Control Officers took 18 calls to the blaze which was under control in less than an hour.
Firefighters came from stations including Battersea, Fulham, north Kensington and Wandsworth.
London Fire Brigade advise people in a block of flats ‘to stay put’ unless their flat is affected by smoke or fire.
It said: ‘This is based on the fire protection provided in the building and the walls and doors of each flat.
‘This has been the case for many decades and although fires in flats happen every day they rarely spread beyond the flat on fire.
‘When you stay put, you reduce the risk of entering a smoky corridor and being overcome by smoke. Staying put also means firefighters can tackle the fire safely and quickly without being delayed by many residents evacuating down the stairways.’
What does the fire brigade say about safely using candles?
- Never leave lit candles unattended. Put burning candles out when you leave the room, and make sure they’re out completely at night
- Place your candles carefully. Make sure they are on a stable surface, out of the reach of pets and children, and keep them away from flammable objects like curtains, furniture, bedding and books
- Do not light with matches – this avoids the risk of ‘double wicking’
- Do not move candles once they are lit
- Do not burn several candles close together as this might cause the flame to flare
- Burn candles in a well-ventilated room, out of drafts, vents or air currents. This will help prevent rapid or uneven burning, soot, and dripping
- Always put scented candles in a heat resistant holder. These candles are designed to liquefy when heated to maximise fragrance
- Fit smoke alarms and test them now and monthly. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999
- Make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do if a fire should occur – practise your escape route
Source: Fire and Rescue Service
Fire services across Britain warned people using candles to be careful to avoid fires