Investigators are probing a serious blaze at a Thornton Heath housing block after residents homes were destroyed in the fire.

At least five flats were devastated in the fire and are now inhabitable following Monday night’s rescue drama at Crystal Court.

Fire and police are investigating the cause of the fire which saw dozens of residents evacuated after the building was engulfed in flames.

These two pictures show the intensity of the fire which started at the rear of Crystal Court which is located on the corner of Woodville Road next to Paddy Power bookmakers.

The building which provides accommodation to often vulnerable tenants has faced numerous  issues in its short history particularly around anti social behaviour and problems with the security of the entry door in to the property.

In the past The Chronicle has reported how Crystal Court has been plagued by street drinkers and drug users gaining access to the flats with addicts sleeping in the underground bin storage area.

More recently it was at the centre of a police operation in September where search warrants were executed and arrests made for drug dealing of Class A substances.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus rescued one woman from a flat on the third floor of Crystal Court.


She was the only casualty of yesterday’s fire but she was treated at the scene by London Ambulance Service paramedics.

The building which is managed by Orbit Housing, a housing association is used to house council tenants including children. This is the second time the block  has been at the centre of a fire drama. In 2017, solar panels and cladding caught fire on the third floor level of the four storey building.

Yesterday, around 40 firefighters  attended the blaze that forced dozens of occupants on to the streets.

Initially about 20 people had to flee the building after the fire broke out and were joined by a further 55 residents.

While the area was made safe most occupants were taken to the nearby leisure centre.

Croydon council staff and local councillors  Callton Young and Karen Jewitt were on hand to offer assistance to occupants of the building with alternative housing accommodation, in hotels found for those made homeless by the fire.

Woodville Road was cordoned off by police at 6.15pm yesterday while dozens of firefighters tackled the blaze as smoke billowed across the High Street and Parchmore Road causing scores of onlookers to gather.

Cllr Callton Young posted pictures on Twitter along with the comment: “When fire leapt up the side of Crystal Court in Thornton Heath earlier today, my heart was in my mouth. It is a relief that all residents are safe. Special thanks go to Croydon Council staff who did a splendid job organising overnight accommodation for residents, including a pet cat.”

Part of two three-roomed flats on the first and third floors of the building were damaged by fire. A shed, a storage box and surrounding fencing and decking at the rear of a first floor flat were destroyed by the blaze. A small part of the exterior of the building was also damaged by fire.

Cllr Jewitt posted yesterday: “No casualties, everyone safe including one cat and a hamster. We have just left the leisure centre, everyone off to a hotel for at least one night. Fire officers inspection tomorrow. Residents will know more then.

The fire was first reported to London Fire Brigade at around 6.15pm and was under control by around 7.30pm but officers were still at the the scene well in to last night.

The Brigade’s 999 Control Officers took 29 calls to the blaze with six fire engines  dispatched to the flat fire said Station Commander Matt Williams, who was at the scene, and added: “Crews worked extremely hard to quickly bring the fire under control and stop it from spreading to the rest of the building.

“We’d like to remind residents of the importance of having working smoke alarms fitted inside your property. Make sure you also test them at least once a week.”