Firefighters rescued nine people using fire escape hoods following a flat fire in New City Road in Plaistow.
Part of a five-roomed flat on the 11th floor of a 16-storey block was damaged by the fire. One person left the affected flat before the Brigade arrived. Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used fire escape hoods on a further nine people who they led to safety. They were assessed on scene by London Ambulance Service crews but were not taken to hospital.
Fire escape hoods provide members of the public with up to 15 minutes protection from four of the main fire gases (carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen chloride and acrolein) and can be worn by conscious or unconscious people. If more than 15 minutes protection is required then another hood can be given to each wearer. They do not provide oxygen but temporarily filter toxic smoke to make breathing easier.
The Brigade's fire investigators believe the fire was accidental and caused by the unsafe disposal of a cigarette.
A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: "Incidents like this show how important it is to safely dispose of cigarettes properly.
"It’s absolutely vital you ensure your cigarette is completely out when you’ve finished smoking it. If you don’t, you risk causing a fire that could not only destroy your home, but also cost you your life.”
The Brigade was called at 0441 and the fire was under control at 0534. Six fire engines and around 40 firefighters from Plaistow, East Ham, Stratford, Poplar, Barking and Leytonstone fire stations attended.