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Last updated: 04/06/2020, 3:32 PM

Roof blaze at block of flats - Bethnal Green

28/05/2020 03:28
Tower Hamlets
House or flat fire

Ten fire engines and around 80 firefighters tackled a roof fire in a block of flats on Hadleigh Close in Bethnal Green.

The roof of the building was destroyed in the blaze.

Station Commander Paul Morgan, who was at the scene, said: "Brigade Control took twenty-five 999 calls to the visible blaze. One of those callers was trapped inside the property and unable to escape due to fire, heat and smoke.

"They were given vital fire survival guidance information before fire crews arrived. Two women were rescued from a fourth floor flat via a 13.5 metre ladder. 

"A man and a woman were also rescued by firefighters via an internal staircase. The man was taken to hospital as a precaution by London Ambulance Service crews.

"Two adults and a child left the flat where the fire is believed to have started before firefighters arrived. Over 100 residents self evacuated from the property."

Thirty flats were affected by the blaze and the local housing agency worked to rehouse residents.

The Brigade's Fire Investigation team believe the fire was accidental and was caused by the unsafe disposal of a cigarette, which caught light to fibreglass framework covering pipes and spread to the roof.

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: "Fires caused by smoking materials including cigarettes, roll-ups, cigars and pipes, result in more deaths than any other type of fire. Stub cigarettes out properly and always dispose of them carefully.

"Make sure smoking materials are cold before emptying ashtrays. Preferably wet stubs before throwing them into a bin.”

The Brigade was called at 0328 and the fire was under control by 0539. Firefighters from Bethnal Green, Whitechapel, Shadwell, Shoreditch, Dowgate, Homerton, Soho, Islington and Stratford fire stations were at the scene.

 Firefighters' top smoking safety tips

  1. It's safer to smoke outside, but make sure cigarettes are put right out and disposed of properly.
  2. Never smoke in bed, and avoid smoking on arm chairs and sofas – especially if you think you might fall asleep.
  3. Take extra care when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs or if you’ve been drinking alcohol.
  4. Use proper ashtrays, which can’t tip over and stub cigarettes out properly.
  5. Don't balance cigars or cigarettes on the edge of an ashtray, or anything else – they can tip and fall as they burn away and cause a fire.
  6. Don’t leave lit pipes or cigarettes unattended.
  7. Always empty ashtrays carefully. Make sure smoking materials are out, cold and preferably wet them before throwing into a bin – never use a wastepaper basket.
  8. Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach, and buy child resistant lighters.
  9. Never smoke if you use healthcare equipment like medical oxygen or an air flow pressure relief mattress. If you use paraffin-based emollient creams, ask for non-flammable alternatives instead.
  10. Consider additional safety measures such as fire retardant bedding or nightwear.