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Firefighters called to barbecue blaze in Webber Street

London SE1 website team

Despite sub-zero temperatures, firefighters were called to their first barbecue fire of the season in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The incident has led London Fire Brigade to issue a warning on the dangers of using barbecues on balconies.

Firefighters from Southwark Fire Statiojn were called to a high rise block of flats on Webber Street just after 3am on Thursday after neighbours reported seeing smoke from a downstairs balcony.

Crews found a barbecue which had burnt through timber decking and started a small fire. Firefighters dealt with it quickly meaning there was little damage caused.

The brigade is urging people to never use barbecues indoors or on balconies. Fire officers are concerned that people may take extreme measures to use barbecues during the unseasonably cold weather.

"It appears that the resident had been using the barbecue earlier that night and had left it on the timber decked balcony and gone to bed," said Southwark watch manager Chris Payton.

"In the summer months we estimate that we attend one fire a week caused by a barbecue being used on a balcony.

"It is really important that people don't use barbecues indoors or on balconies. Always make sure barbecues are completely cool before leaving them unattended."

• A public meeting on proposed changes to the fire service in London – including the closure of Southwark Fire Station – will be held at City Hall on Tuesday 14 May.

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