Family trying to trace fire hero

Claire Jones and Michael Duffin with their children Cody, 4, and Casey, 2

Claire Jones and Michael Duffin with their children Cody, 4, and Casey, 2

First published in News
Last updated
Wandsworth Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

A family is trying to trace a man who broke down their door and evacuated their block of flats after a fire broke out destroying their home.

Fortunately the family was not home when six fire engines and 30 firefighters were called out to the blaze at 5pm, in Fayland Avenue, on the border of Streatham and Tooting, on Tuesday, August 12.

Wandsworth Guardian:

The fire on Tuesday, August 12

Mum-of-two Claire Jones, 41, owns the flat and lives there with her partner Mikie, a delivery driver, and kids Cody, 4, and Casey, 2. She was devastated when she found her home completely destroyed but has spoken of hope after hearing a have-a-go-hero smashed down their door out of concern for the family’s safety.

She said: "Everybody has been absolutely fantastic. We weren’t in the flat at the time - which is a relief. I had just come home to find it all alight.

"I went round the corner and said to my little boy ‘look at all the fire engines’. One of the nursery teachers came out and said ‘don’t take him round there’.

"I looked round the corner and there were flames coming out of my roof."

Wandsworth Guardian:

Despite their sadness the family says the fire has made them see the good in people 

Miss Jones begged firefighters to let her up into the flat to rescue her hamster Hammy, and two house cats Flip and Flop. However, only one survived, Flop, who clung on to a firefighter to escape the blaze.

She added: "He was carrying her out. She wouldn’t let go of him, she was absolutely terrified bless her."

Miss Jones is now trying to find the man, understood to be called Kemal, who kicked down their door after he smelled the fire and got people to safety.

Wandsworth Guardian:

She added: "I just think he needs to be acknowledged. He kicked the door in - if we had been in there it would have saved our lives. He didn't know us from Adam but evacuated the whole block.

"I think out of all this it has made us see the good in people. Community support has been amazing."

Fortunately Miss Jones was able to retrieve baby photos of the children but all their other possessions were destroyed.

The fire is under investigation but thought to be related to the hob. Seventeen adults and three children evacuated the block before the firefighters arrived. There were no injuries. The fire was under control by 6.30pm.

Fire crews from Tooting, West Norwood, Norbury and Mitcham fire stations were all called to the scene.

Do you know the man? Call the newsdesk on 020 8722 6344 or email ssleigh@london.newsquest.co.uk.

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