A WITNESS has described the bravery of firefighters who tackled a fierce blaze in Shepherd's Bush which gutted the entire second floor of a house and caused its roof to collapse.
The fire took hold at about 7.15 pm last Saturday at the house in Godolphin Road. Two people had to be evacuated from the property next door as 20 firefighters fought for at least half an hour to stop the flames spreading and nearly three hours to completely douse them.
Onlookers described acrid smoke filling the air and vivid orange flames coming from the building as firefighters battled against the danger to make the scene safe.
Paul Stokes, a magazine editor who lives in Hetley Road, said: "I must say it was brave how close they got, not only was there thick acrid smoke, but they were standing pretty close to the windows when the house's roof loudly and completely collapsed with a loud, cracking bang. They didn't retreat at all, remaining focused on the blaze."
Mr Stokes said he initially mistook a burning smell for a neighbour's barbecue but soon realised something was badly amiss when he looked out of the window.
"The house was ablaze with vivid orange flames and lots of acrid, grey smoke. Initially the firefighters focused their efforts, successfully, on stopping the fire spreading to the house next door, as there was a strong breeze fanning the flames, before they tackled the first floor fire itself via the back windows.
"The brigade deserve credit for how quickly they stopped the fire from spreading."
Another witness, Daniel Calaco, was returning from a takeaway when he saw the flames. "I had been gone 10 minutes and when I got back the place was on fire. Some neighbours said there was an explosion from a gas canister, which is still in the road.
"There were quite a few people watching in the road."
A spokesman for the brigade said: "We were called at 7.16pm and the fire was under control by 9.59pm. Crews from Hammersmith, Acton and Kensington fire stations attended the incident. The cause of the fire is under investigation.