A Brief History of London Boroughs with the Highest Number of Fires


    Originally established as Londinium by the Romans between 47-50AD, London is older than most of its residents realise. Even back then, Londinium was the capital of Roman Britain, and a major seat of commerce for the Roman Empire. Today, London is the largest and most populated city in the UK, separated into thirty-two boroughs for better management.

    Unfortunately, all large cities with a teeming population have their share of problems to deal with. For the British capital, fire has always been a major nemesis throughout history. After cross-checking facts with the London Fire Department’s website, it seems that there are some boroughs in Greater London which have seen more fires in recent history than others. For those living in these boroughs, the following facts could act as a wake-up call.


    Newham has had a long history of house fires, which dates back to 1966. It is highly probable that the inner borough had a fire problem that originated way before 1966, but all available data only goes back to that time. The following should provide a clear idea regarding which were the worst five years for the borough between 2000 to 2020.

    • 3011 fires in 2000
    • 1809 fires in 2005
    • 1364 fires in 2010
    • 1215 fires in 2011
    • 929 fires in 2013

    Since 2017, Newham has shown commendable improvements though, with the number of fires shrinking per year up until 2020.


    No other borough in outer London has a worse history of fires in the last two decades than Greenwich, unfortunately. In fact, only the inner boroughs of Southwark, Newham and the Tower Hamlets have suffered more due to fire damage between 2000-2020. The following five years were the most damaging for Greenwich:

    • 2341 fires in 2000
    • 2078 fires in 2005
    • 1256 fires in 2010
    • 1191 fires in 2011
    • 796 fires in 2012

    Ever since 2014, the number of fires in Greenwich has remained between 672 to 790, but these numbers have not steadily decreased as much as they have in several other boroughs.

    Tower Hamlets

    Although residents of Tower Hamlets have seen the inner borough’s tendency to catch fire being curbed severely between 2016-2020, it still remains the worst fire-affected borough in all of Greater London. This was largely owing to the following, horrible years:

    • 3211 fires in 2000
    • 2810 fires in 2005
    • 1464 fires in 2011
    • 1438 fires in 2010
    • 1173 fires in 2012

    Thankfully, incidents of fire have come down from 878 in 2017 to 697 in 2020, but it seems that the borough can catch up at any time for all the wrong reasons.

    Barking and Dagenham

    Barking and Dagenham is the second worst sufferer of fire damage in outer London. The only good news is that the borough has seen a remarkable decrease pattern in fire incidents since 2018. The following were Barking and Dagenham’s five worst years of fire:

    • 1936 fires in 2000
    • 1770 fires in 2005
    • 1072 fires in 2010
    • 961 fires in 2011
    • 715 fires in 2014

    In 2019 and 2020, Barking and Dagenham reported only 469 and 450 fires respectively, which is quite encouraging.

    What Homeowners Can Do to Avoid Future Tragedies

    Whether your own borough was mentioned on this list or not, it is imperative that every homeowner takes the best possible precautions that they can to not just prevent house fires, but also to have a backup plan for fiery accidents. Ensure that your current home insurance plan covers every type of fire damage above all else.

    Plans with extensive fire coverage can be expensive, but you can compare home insurance policies and make them much more affordable by using a site like quotezone.co.uk. It’s a neutral platform that helps with insurance price negotiations on behalf of the homeowners, so it’s well worth a look.

    As for the preventive measures, the following should help you avoid fires with almost complete assurance:

    • Get your home checked and appraised by the local fire department
    • Become more aware of managing the risks of fire from smoking, cooking, candles and open fires in general
    • Get a yearly appraisal from your local electrician, as house fires from faulty electronics and wiring are far too common
    • Keep your smoke alarms and sprinkler system active with new batteries and occasional checks
    • Teach children about the dangers of fire and the activities which can start them

    Some of the other Greater London boroughs with the highest instances of fire breakouts are Bromley, Croydon, Enfield, Hackney and Lambeth. Readers can download all the detailed data from the London City Council’s website if they wish to know more. Admittedly, these facts are just as fascinating as they are morbid, but the stats and facts can still increase awareness, save lives, and reduce one’s chances of experiencing property damage.