Houseboats burn on the Thames

Fireboat called to Hampton Court stretch to fight blaze

Fire services were called to Ash Island near Hampton Court on the River Thames this week as two houseboats became engulfed in flames.

According to Twickenham fire station watch manager Guy Pendliham, a man on board was alerted to the fire by his smoke alarm. “This may have just saved his life and and demonstrates just how vital these alarms are,” Pendliham said.

More than 25 firefighters attended from neighbouring stations at Twickenham and Kingston. A fireboat, based at Lambeth riverboat station in London, also attended the scene. Colin McSweeney, the officer in charge of the fireboat, said: “When the first firefighters arrived they had to walk across a weir through the pitch black to get to the island. When we arrived we pumped water from the river and doused the remaining flames.”
One house boat sank before the blaze could be put out, while another craft was severely damaged in the blaze. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Local fire stations give out free smoke alarms to boat owners in the

area and crews are going back to offer fire safety advice and extra