Contact us: Got a photo? Text 'SLPICS' to 80360. Got a story? Call the newsdesk: 020 8744 4244
Arsonist believed to have started huge grass fire in Tolworth
An arsonist is believed to have started a huge fire yesterday which destroyed an area of heathland the size of four football pitches.
Thirty firefighters worked in thick smoke to fight the blaze at two fields off Kingston Road, in Tolworth, south of Jubilee Way, at about 5pm.
Firefighter Stewart Burge said they believed the fire was deliberate because it started in two different places in the dry fields.
Mr Burge said when they first arrived it was very hot and some firefighters felt disorientated because they were blinded by the smoke.
He said: "People were taking in quite a lot of smoke. We were coughing and our eyes were watering.
"Our eyes were streaming because of the smoke."
About five hoses were used to extinguish the flames while Mr Burge and other firefighters used beaters to extinguish the fire in the long grass.
He said: "We ran off with beaters trying to beat it out. Beating is hard work because it’s hot and smoky. A few of us got our arm hair singed."
He said they put out fire out within an hour and 20 minutes then damped down the area to make sure it could not take hold again.
Four fire engines, from Epsom, Sutton and Surbition, a Leatherhead water carrier and a Woking Land Rover were called to the fire just before 5pm.
Watch manager Gareth Arnold said: "It probably looked more spectacular than it was because of the location, the number of people and amount of smoke there was.
"It could have spread to the woods but we managed to stop it. It was a good job by all."
Mr Arnold said a huge amount of resources were tied up at the fire which started at the same time as a flat fire in Surbiton.
He said: "Whoever did it should be made aware of the dangers. It may seem like a bit of fun but it can escalate. There are consequences and we can’t be in two places at once."
Comments are closed on this article.