Tottenham flat fire leads to high-rise evacuation

A tower block in Tottenham was evacuated following a “very intense” fire that broke out in a sixth-floor apartment.

On the evening of 17 February 2023, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) responded to calls of a flat fire at a high-rise building in Northumberland Park, Tottenham. Eight fire appliances and 60 firefighters were dispatched to the scene, where on arrival it was found that “half of a five-roomed flat on the sixth floor” of the residential building was alight. Smoke rapidly spread to the fifth floor, leading to the evacuation of residents from the building.

Two people in the flat were able to leave prior to the arrival of LFB, with the service later confirming that firefighters wore breathing apparatus to enter the building and were able to lead a woman to safety via an internal staircase. She was later treated for smoke inhalation.

Footage taken at the scene shows both evacuated residents and onlookers standing at a distance from Kenneth Robbins House, watching the teams of firefighters tackle the blaze. Crews from Tottenham, Edmonton, and Holloway were also called in for support. A 32-metre turntable ladder was used in the incident as an “observation platform and as a water tower”.

Station Commander Chris Kendall was in attendance at the scene and later reported: "Firefighters worked hard in hot, challenging conditions to tackle a very intense fire.

"Due to heavy congestion, we urged people to avoid the area. The blaze was producing smoke, and we advised those in the vicinity to close their windows and doors.”

Haringey Council also updated locals by posting a message on Twitter: “Following a fire at Kenneth Robbins House in Northumberland Park tonight, council staff have been supporting the emergency services and evacuated residents at the scene.

The fire is now under control, and we will be providing emergency accommodation to four households overnight.”

The council added: “Thank you very much to the brave firefighters at London Fire Brigade for their swift response to this incident and for helping to keep our residents here in Haringey safe.

LFB later confirmed that the fire had been started accidentally due to the unsafe use of incense sticks. The service has since issued tips and guidance on how to use incense and candles safely in the home, namely ensuring that they have been extinguished when leaving the room, that they are held within heat-resistant holders, and that they are kept away from flammable materials such as curtains, furniture, clothes, and hair.

(Photograph by the London Fire Brigade)