Firefighters using breathing apparatus rescued three people from potentially deadly smoke during a blaze in a block of flats.

The London Fire Brigade was called to a six-storey building in Heybourne Crescent, Colindale, at 2.01pm yesterday (Monday, May 15).

The fire damaged half of a five-room flat on the second floor, with a woman led to safety by crews.

A man was rescued from a neighbouring flat after being led down internal stairs wearing a fire escape hood.

The lifesaving filter hoods can give conscious or unconscious people up to 15 minutes' protection from four of the main fire gases - carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen chloride and acrolein.

The man was treated at the scene by London Ambulance Service crews for smoke inhalation.

A second man suffering smoke inhalation from another flat was also led to safety by crews with breathing apparatus.

The fire was under control by 3.06pm.

At the time motorists and the public were advised to “avoid the area”.

A total of 40 firefighters and six fire engines attended, with crews from Hendon, Stanmore, Finchley, West Hampstead and Islington.

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