London Fire Brigade

East Ham – fire in a hostel

01 April 2014

Firefighters rescued two men from a fire in a hostel on Barking Road, East Ham in the early hours of this morning. The fire badly damaged the ground floor of the property and there was thick black smoke throughout the two storey building.

Watch Manager Paul Baker, who was at the scene said:

“Crews were faced with a severe fire which caused downstairs windows to smash due to the intensity of the blaze. Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus rescued a man from the ground floor and another from the first floor via the internal staircase.”

A woman and a further man had escaped from the property before fire crews arrived. London Ambulance Service treated all four at the scene for smoke inhalation.

The Brigade called upon specialist fire investigation dog, Sherlock, to help determine what caused the blaze. The seven month old cocker spaniel is one of two fire dogs which help investigators detect accelerants, like petrol, to determine whether or not a fire was started deliberately.

Paul Osborne, a fire investigator and Sherlock's handler said:

"Sherlock didn't identify any of the substances he’s trained to sniff out, including petrol, lighter fluid, and white spirit. That evidence, alongside my investigation, indicates that the cause of the fire was accidental. Sherlock's completely invaluable as he’s much more efficient than the mechanical devices available.

"The property had working smoke alarms. Thankfully no one needed to go to hospital which might not have been the case had they not had working smoke alarms, so make sure you test yours regularly.”

Four fire engines and around 21 firefighters and officers were called to the converted house at 0348. The fire was under control by 0457. Firefighters were called at East Ham, Barking and Stratford fire stations were at the incident.