Two firefighters have been commended after rescuing a trapped woman from a "ferocious" blaze sparked by an e-scooter.

London Fire Brigade was called to Willesden Lane in Kilburn shortly after 2.30am on August 6 after a neighbour heard a woman shouting for help.

She was trapped inside a third-floor flat after the scooter went up in flames near the entrance.

Firefighter Paul Fergus and sub-officer Zafer Nadji, then stationed at West Hampstead Fire Station, were among the first firefighters at the scene and immediately spotted flames punching through the windows of a second-floor flat.

The pair went into the building and found the front door of the flat slightly ajar.  

Zafer, known as Zaf, said: “It was quite a ferocious fire, there were explosions and flames and loud bangs coming from different parts of the room.

"Visibility was really poor, but we quickly noticed there were a number of e-scooters alight and I set about putting out the fire, which was challenging as there were a lot of obstacles inside the flat.” 

Ham & High: Firefighters Paul Fergus and Zafer Nadji receiving commendations from Camden Borough Commander David George after saving a woman's life in a blazeFirefighters Paul Fergus and Zafer Nadji receiving commendations from Camden Borough Commander David George after saving a woman's life in a blaze (Image: LFB)

Meanwhile, Paul was searching the flat for the person reported to still be inside.

Reaching the back of the flat, he found the bathroom.

Opening the door, Paul discovered a woman sitting on the floor with a towel wrapped over her head.

Overcome by fatigue and smoke inhalation, she was unable to walk, London Fire Brigade (LFB) said. 

Alerting Zaf that he had found the woman, Paul put her over his shoulder and carried her through the flat while Zaf cleared a path and put out pockets of fire. 

She was treated at the scene before being taken to a specialist hospital in the capital where she spent several weeks before being discharged.

Ham & High: Firefighters saved a woman trapped in a second floor flat in Willesden Lane after e-scooters caused a 'ferocious' blazeFirefighters saved a woman trapped in a second floor flat in Willesden Lane after e-scooters caused a 'ferocious' blaze (Image: Nathalie Raffray)

Camden Borough Commander David George las month presented commendations to Zaf and Paul, whose courage, teamwork and professionalism helped save the woman’s life. 

He said: “This commendation for Zaf and Paul demonstrates the courage and teamwork displayed by firefighters in London on a daily basis."

He said the rescue highlighted the Brigade's #chargesafe campaign which raises awareness of the fire risks associated with e-bikes and e-scooters.

In 2023, there were 155 e-bike fires and 28 e-scooter fires, averaging one blaze every two days.

Three people died in these fires and around 60 people were injured.

He said fires involving lithium batteries, which power these vehicles, are ferocious, producing jets of flame and very toxic smoke that should never be inhaled.

Speaking about their commendations, which were put forward by their Station Commander Duncan Rees, Zaf said: “We feel really privileged and honoured to be awarded this commendation as it was a difficult rescue and extremely challenging fire.” 

Paul added: “We’re also really pleased that she has made a full recovery, and it really makes us proud that we made a difference in someone’s life.” 

Safety tips for all e-bike and e-scooter users:

  • Never block your escape route with anything, including e-bikes and e-scooters.
  • Store them somewhere away from a main through route preferably a garage or a shed.    
  • Always use the correct charger, otherwise the risk of fire increases, and buy an official one from a reputable seller. 
  • Do not charge the vehicle whilst you’re asleep or leave it unattended. 
  • Do not attempt to modify or tamper with your battery and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.     
  • Converting pedal bikes into e-bikes using DIY kits bought online can be very dangerous as they pose a higher risk of fire. Get a professional or competent person to carry out the conversion and make sure to buy a battery from a reputable seller and that it is not second-hand.    
  • Check your battery and charger meets UK safety standards. 

The brigade are particularly concerned where batteries have been bought from online marketplaces after being sourced on the internet, which may not meet the correct safety standards. 

Consumers buying any product can check that the item displays a UKCA or CE mark that ensures that the products meet UK and EU safety, health or environmental requirements.

If buying online, buy from a UK supplier.   

Watch out for signs that the battery or charger aren’t working as they should – e.g. if the battery is hot to the touch or has changed shape.

Do not try and tackle a fire. Get away and call 999.