Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters were called to a fire at a laundrette with flats above on High Street North in Manor Park.
A tumble dryer on the ground floor of the building was damaged by the fire. Two people left the building before the Brigade arrived. There were no reports of any injuries.
The fire was discovered by a resident from the flat above who smelt burning and heard a smoke alarm sounding. They left the building and called 999.
The Brigade's Fire Investigators believe the fire was caused by the self-heating of textiles within the tumble dryer.
A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: "These types of fires often involve textiles that become contaminated with oil, most commonly linseed, massage and cooking oil on tea towels, tablecloths and chef whites.
“Sometimes when materials are cleaned and put in tumble dryers, the heat from the tumble drying cannot escape. This can result in a high enough temperature allowing it to build up to a point where it smoulders and eventually ignites.
“If you are washing and then drying on a hot cycle, always use the cooling cycle on the tumble dryer so it cools down and allow the heat to dissipate properly, before stacking laundered items together.”
The Brigade was called at 1841 and the fire was under control by 1932. Fire crews from East Ham, Stratford and Ilford fire stations attended the scene.