Police officers called to reports that a firefighter had been assaulted tasered a 53-year-old man who was acting aggressively and detained him on suspicion of arson.

The firefighter who was tackling a blaze in Thornton Heath could have sustained a serious head injury if not for his helmet after he was attacked by a member of the public.

The assault in the early hours today was described as ‘abhorrent, unprovoked’ and ‘completely unacceptable’ by fire chiefs.

The fire officer required hospital treatment after he was struck in the head by an occupant of a block of flats which was ablaze in Kensington Avenue.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “ Upon arrival a man was acting aggressively and Taser was deployed to detain him. A 53-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of attempted grievous bodily harm, assaulting an emergency worker and arson with intent to endanger life. He remains in custody.

“The firefighter suffered a head injury and was taken to a south London hospital as a precaution. The officer suffered a leg injury but did not require medical assistance. Enquiries are ongoing. “

The attack on an emergency worker comes just hours after two police officers were hospitalised while arresting a man suspected of breaking in to a car  in nearby Norbury Avenue last night.


The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Brigade and the Metropolitan Police..

London Fire Brigade Deputy Commissioner Richard Mills said: “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.”

Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters were called to a fire which broke out on the first floor of the two-storey block  just after midnight.  Fire crews from Norbury and West Norwood fire stations attended and the fire was under control by 1.37am.

Dep Com Mills added: “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.”