Fire in Sceaux Gardens

Just in case anybody hasn’t heard yet, there’s been a huge fire down in Sceaux Gardens, with six people confirmed dead.

Southwark Council have an emergency update page with the latest details.

If anybody has more information on what happened or any way that we can help those affected, please comment below. Please keep these comments on-topic.

My condolences to all the families who have suffered a loss in this terrible incident.

Update: You can see the exterior damage here (and I took a few more photos this morning).

Sceaux Gardens

Update: Southwark Council are accepting cash donations to help victims.

Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

25 thoughts on “Fire in Sceaux Gardens”

  1. I have just rung Southwark council to offer help/donations and they have taken my number, not sure whether they will call back, they sounded very overwhelmed and there is an emergency message on the phone when you first ring. The number I called is from their website Their main switchboard number 020 7525 5000.

  2. …They just called me back to tell me they have the situation under control, and do not require any donations or assistance at this time, but that my call was much appreciated.

  3. At 4.30pm I was in the Hermit, watching Andy Murray playing his tennis match (what a shame he didn’t get through).

    The fire brigade’s, police & ambulance were zooming down camberwell church street for a few hours!.

    I would also like to give My condolences to all the families who have suffered a loss of a family member or there belongings.….

    Sg, even herd the news and she’s in Australia..

    There seemed to be an incident on Vicarage Grove?? police tape around three houses and police standing there.. just after 4pm yesterday. Anybody know what was happening there.…..

  4. Fair dinkum, I come home for a few weeks and all hell breaks loose 🙂

    Seriously, imagine my surprise to see this story being run as the first story on this morning’s tv news on the Sunshine Coast (Queensland, Australia, an hour north of Brisbane). They even mentioned Camberwell by name.

    Very sad and my thoughts go out to all those affected — and do Southwark need any more reasons now to rip these bloody firetraps down and replace them with proper housing??

  5. Journalists from all over the world will be lazily accessing this blog for local reaction.

    Get snapping Flickr crew. Get blogging amateur journos — you could find your work on CNN.

    Time to shine Peter.

  6. @sg
    The story has indeed made the international news headlines. Watching the events unfold was horrific and there are now 98 families/family units homeless and 6 people dead. Those that did not suffer directly from the fire on the lower floors were flooded out of their homes by the water cascading through the block and will probably have lost everything.
    I suspect that the circumstances leading to the spread of fire were either;
    1. that it was arson with some sort of accelerant being used or
    2. the combination of hot weather (making everything combustible very dry), a strong wind (which is the norm around large tenements) and people having their windows open because of the high temperatures.
    Could be both of these, of course.
    I’ve witnessed fires in that block before but have never seen them spread beyond one dwelling. Every flat has 4 possible exit points to the central stairway (there is only one of these) and fire finds it very hard to take hold in the stairway because there is virtually nothing to burn there.
    If the stairway was fire damaged by yesterdays events, I think that points pretty much to someone having started the fire deliberately using petrol or something like that.
    My heart goes out to those who died and their families, friends, etc.

  7. I used to live in Camberwell and the block looks like the one I lived in. Does anyone know if the name has been changed. The block I lived in was called Habington House (1960’s) or is it a different one. Either way, pictures brought back happy memories. God bless those poor people involved

  8. @JoeyB
    Habbington House is no more — it was demolished as part of the regeneration of the Elmington Estate about 3–4 years back.

  9. Thanx for that. Another memory bites the dust. Seems like yesterday I was there. I can remember it so clearly. I wonder how many other places I knew are gone?Good wishes to all in Camberwell

  10. For those of you that want to do something, but don’t know what to do, there is a Book of Condolence open for contributions at the Town Hall:
    This will be passed to the families of those who have lost someone. It’s a small thing, I know, but after this has all died down, messages of support, even from strangers, will mean something, I’m sure.

  11. I to was in the Hermits on Thursday afternoon and saw and heard the appliances and cop cars zooming by.

    There was clearly something serious going on when fire appliances from Chelsea going towards our own fire station.

    I had the dreadful thought that a plane had come down on its approach to Heathrow.

    Having voiced this I heard someone say “As long as it came down in the middle of Peckham”.

    Bloody twat! I did tell him to piss off BTW.

    Perhaps a visit to St. Giles is in order.

    God bless them and also those who are left to pick up the pieces. A horrible way to go.

  12. Since my last posting, I’ve been down to the reception centre in Welton Hall, Bushey Hill Rd. They are particularly short of women’s clothing, women’s nightwear and unused women’s underwear. If you have any unwanted Christmas gifts that fall into any of these categories, I think that they’d be gratefully received.
    The Council are buying supplies from a specially set-aside fund, but there are about 150 men, women and children who left their homes on Friday night in what they stood up in — some with no money, nothing.

  13. Mushti — do you know if they still need stuff — the message on Southwarks website says they are ok for clothes and other donations now.

  14. A trip to the site is a good idea to get the reality of it — we’ve seen Bosnia and Chechnya on the telly — that’s what it looks like, it is a very violent scene. The debris is left exactly as it fell — the place is a crime scene under investigation. It is a stressing and distressing sight but well worth the trip to see what it really means.

  15. I hope that they find out the cause of this fire was accidental; I don’t like to contemplate the possibility that somebody did this on purpose.

  16. @Hannah
    I can’t get in touch with my contact at the moment. I suspect that what I posted yesterday afternoon is now out of date.

  17. Terrible News — My condolences to all the affected families…

    60’s architecture hasn’t been kind to South London but Sceaux Gardens always struck me as a place that was slightly better designed than most from that period…

    Seems like I got that wrong

  18. @Hannah
    Sorry for taking so long to get a further posting on. The initial shortages I mentioned yesterday have been resolved. The emergency centre has now been moved to the Lettsom Tenants Hall in Vestry Rd (see Southwark’s website for further details). If I learn of anything further needed, I’ll add a further post.
    I am aware that I’ve taken up a fair bit of Camberwell Online on this matter over the last few days. This is primarily because it’s on my doorstep this time and I have been deeply affected by the plight of those poor people.
    Sceaux Gardens Tenants’ & Residents’ Association has included a message on their website. Here is a link to that for those of you that wish to see what they’ve said:

  19. Two meetings were held last night — one for those displaced from Lakanal and one for those living in the sister block, Marie Curie. Southwark Council organised these and there were representatives from the Fire & Police services.
    Both meetings saw the fear and anger that this tragedy has instilled in those that live in the two blocks. The emergency services provided an update on the progress of the investigation underway. The Council also announced that there is to be a detailed safety survey launched for the sister block, starting today.
    Harriet Harman, Nick Stanton, the Leader of the Council and several other councillors attended both meetings. Weekly meetings will be held for the foreseeable future to update residents on progress.

  20. Big thunderstorms here yesterday early evening will have lashed the building inside and out. Lengthy inquiry. Like going through the Titanic with tweezers.

  21. Hi

    I received this message today and I thought I’d post it up as there has been discussion about whether donations are needed:

    “We have received an urgent request this morning for men’s clothing. If you or your organisation have any spare, laundered, men’s clothes you could donate they would be gratefully received.
    Please contact Jean Uzoma Resident Involvement Officer Camberwell Area
    9297 525 4747

    If you have transport these can be delivered to Lettsom T&RA Hall on Vestry Road or alternatively they can be collected.”

  22. I thought I’d provide you all with an update on the situation with the fire.
    Firstly, the assistance centre is being moved from Vestry Rd to Cator Street, SE15 (off Commercial Way) from tomorrow morning.
    The Council has now launched an appeal for money to go to those that have lost everything in the fire. See the Southwark Council website homepage for details on this.
    It’s likely that between 50 and 80 families will have lost absolutely everything in their homes, either from fire or the water used to tackle the fire. The remaining 20 will lose a fair chunk of their possession due to smoke damage.

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