A “very bad fire” at a New Malden self-storage company was avoided last night, thanks to a speedy response by the fire service.

Firefighters from New Malden and Wimbledon were called to the Big Yellow Self Storage building at Beverley Way, after a fire alarm sounded at about 7.30pm on Monday.

Upon arrival they discovered black smoke had filled the corridors of the building’s office area, separate from the storage areas used by customers.

New Malden fire station’s watch manager would not comment on the cause of the fire, but said he was pleased that only about 10 per cent of the offices were damaged.

Watch manager Holt said: “The fire certainly had the potential to be a lot bigger, but we were automatically notified of the alarm as soon as it went off. Then we used a thermal image camera to pinpoint the location after we got there.

“I was very pleased because we had the right equipment and speed to avoid a potentially very bad fire.”