Arson attack on council housing block condemned

Published: Friday 4th August 17

A suspected arson attack early yesterday morning (Thursday) at a block of flats in Southfields has been condemned in the strongest terms and the culprits warned that if they are caught and they live in a council property they will be evicted.

At around 6am yesterday a sofa that had been flytipped outside the entrance to a block of flats in Chobham Gardens was set alight. The sofa had been dumped there late Wednesday evening or overnight.

The blaze badly damaged a part of the block that contains electrical circuits and equipment, caused severe smoke damage to the communal entrance area and knocked out the building’s entrycall security system. Fortunately it did not spread to any residential properties or cause damage to anyone’s home.

The aftermath of yesterday's blaze

The council is offering a reward of up to £1,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. 

Wandsworth’s cabinet member for housing Cllr Clare Salier said: “It absolutely beggars belief that someone would do this in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. This was an appalling act of vandalism that could have had terrible consequences.

“The fire did not spread to residents’ homes, but following the disaster in Kensington we are fully aware that any incident like this in our blocks will be worrying to our residents. We want to reassure them that we will leave no stone unturned in tracing those responsible.

Once the fire brigade had left someone flytipped a cooker inside the damaged electrical intake cupboard

“And it’s not just the mindless arsonist who needs to be traced and prosecuted. The people who thought it was okay to dump their old sofa, and presumably expected their neighbours to foot the clear up bill, should also face the consequences of their actions.

“I would urge anyone with information about these crimes to contact the police or the housing department so that we can take the appropriate action.”

If any are identified and they reside in a council-owned or council leasehold property they  will face immediate legal action to evict them.

The council is also appealing for information about a dumped cooker that was flytipped in exactly the same spot shortly after the fire brigade had extinguished the flames and left the scene.

Anyone with information can contact the police by dialling the non-emergency 101 number or the housing  department’s central area team 020 8871 5333.

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