Six households have been left homeless after a large roof fire in New Malden last night.

A blow torch being used in the loft by plumbers is believed to have been the cause of the blaze.

London Fire Brigade was called to the fire in a block of flats in Chestnut Grove at 8.32pm.

New Malden crew manager Ray Foster praised the actions of his firefighters in saving the other flats in the block.

He said: "When we turned up, 100 metres of the road either side of the block was heavily smoke logged by a serious fire in the roof.

"After evacuation the last disabled resident my team went upstairs to the third floor.

"When they managed to push open the loft hatch burning debris fell onto the landing.

"After knocking the fire out sufficiently around the loft access they climbed the ladder to the top to best attack the fire where they remained despite tiles and flaming roof debris falling on them.

"In fact I would go so far to say that if it wasn’t for their courage and professionalism in standing fast we would have lost the entire roof."

New Malden councillor Lynne Finnerty tweeted last night: "Wonderful community spirit in Chestnut Grove as residents took in neighbours for night after fire in flats. Faith in human nature restored."