A smoke alarm fitted by firefighters three years ago helped save the life of an elderly man in Thornton Heath last night.

The man suffered slight smoke inhalation in the blaze at his home in Mersham Road.

It damaged the whole of the first floor, part of the loft and the ground floor of the house that had been converted into flats.

Six fire engines were called at about 7.20pm yesterday to tackle the flames and had the fire under control by 8.40pm.

London Fire Brigade station manager Richard Knighton, who was at the scene, said: "It's great that a smoke alarm fitted by our crews has alerted the man to the fire and saved his life.

“It is a reminder for everyone to have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of your home."

The man was taken to hospital by ambulance.

The cause of the fire is under investigation but is thought to be accidental.