A firefighter from London Fire Brigade (LFB) was attacked while attending a fire at a block of flats in Thornton Heat in the early hours of this morning (January 26).

The attacked prompted a wave of condemnation from authorities in the capital, including Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, while a police investigation has also been launched into what happened.

The incident took place after fire crews were called to a flat fire on Kensington Avenue in Thornton Heath two minutes after midnight.

While the crews were able to bring the fire under control by 1.37am, a firefighter was attacked while helping attend to the blaze and had to be taken to hospital.

As a London Fire Brigade Deputy Commissioner Richard Mills described: “While attending a fire at a block of flats in Thornton Heath overnight, one of our firefighters was attacked by a man at the property.

“This abhorrent and unprovoked attack on a firefighter is completely unacceptable, but during a global pandemic when all emergency services workers are going above and beyond to serve the public it is even more shocking."

He added that the firefighter assaulted by the man at the property was spared serious injuries only thanks to his helmet:

"The firefighter was going into a building to fight a fire and potentially save lives and had it not been for his helmet, he would have sustained serious head injuries. Thankfully, he has been discharged from hospital.

"We take all attacks on our firefighters incredibly seriously and have already put our weight behind the Assaults on Emergency Workers Act which increased sentencing guidelines for such attacks and we will be working with the Metropolitan Police Service to assist with their investigation."

Sadiq Khan meanwhile took to Twitter to describe the incident as "appalling":

"It is absolutely appalling that a firefighter has been violently attacked while bravely doing his job," he said.

"Violence towards our emergency service workers will not be tolerated - and those who carry out such attacks must face the full force of the law."