Seven forced to flee Tooting flat following poppadom fire
Seven people were forced to flee their flats on Saturday night when a fire broke out in an Indian restaurant in Tooting.
Crews were called to the blaze, in Upper Tooting Road, just before 8pm after it is thought a pan of hot oil used to cook poppadoms caught fire.
Ten people in the restaurant and seven people living in flats above escaped before firefighters arrived.
Four fire engines and 20 firefighters fought the blaze, which was extinguished by 8.40pm.
The fire spread into the restaurant's ducting - a unit used to remove fumes from cooking.
It was damaged and there was also limited damage to the restaurant and flat above.
A passer-by said: "There were lots of people gathering round as fireman tried to put out the flames.
"They were actually getting a bit close for comfort and the firemen were having to tell them to get back.
"The traffic was causing the firemen a few problems but then the flames started getting bigger so suddenly they were all needed.
"Then a member of the public started helping redirect the buses, it was pretty chaotic."
A spokesperson for the London Fire Brigade said: "If you’re cooking with hot oil it’s always a good idea to keep a close eye on it at all times.
"As we’ve seen here, all it takes is a couple of minutes for the pan to burst into flames.
"If your pan catches fire you should only turn the heat off if it’s safe to do so. Don’t try to tackle the fire yourself, just get out, stay out and call 999."