In the May edition of the Fire Risk Management magazine it was reported that a looter received an 11 year jail term for starting a fire which destroyed a furniture shop in South London during the riots of last summer. Mr Thompson set fire to a sofa cushion and the ‘blaze that developed was so fierce that the buildings on the opposite side of the road were engulfed, threatening the lives of residents, and tram lines in the road were damaged’. Under Building Regulations approval for any building, the allowable amount of unprotected area on the façade of a proposed building is calculated to prevent fire spread to adjacent building from radiation from a fire within the proposed building. The building, used as the House of Reeves furniture store in Croydon, therefore should not have had enough unprotected area on its elevations to spread fire beyond it determined boundary, or in this case the relevant boundary of the centre of the road. Something went fundamentally wrong for the fire within the House of Reeves furniture store to engulf buildings on the opposite side of the road, regardless of whether the fire was started deliberately or accidently. We feel that the investigation after the fire should have looked not only at the initial cause of the fire but also identified the fundamental failure which caused the fire to spread to buildings on the opposite side of the road.