Residents living in Harold Wood have spoken of their shock and horror watching a flat fire burn yesterday afternoon.
Eight fire engines and around 60 firefighters tackled the balcony blaze of four floors along Safflower Lane. Fortunately no one was injured and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Local resident James Phillips whose flat is directly next to the one that burnt on the fourth floor, spoke exclusively to the Havering Daily.
‘I think the fire started on the first floor and obviously fire rises so it went up.
‘It was around three o clock and I had literally just finished watching the football and I could smell a bonfire. I knew the guy downstairs had been clearing up his garden so I thought he was having a bonfire, but I thought it’s a bit early for a bonfire’.
‘I closed my back door to stop the smell and I saw a commotion going on down stairs, so I went out to my balcony and saw there was a fire. I went downstairs as there were no smoke alarms or anything going off in the building.
‘The fire brigade came and they got the fire out pretty quickly but the fire spread so rapidly and the brown parts of the building went up so fast, I think it’s the cladding. Then the glass exploded everywhere.’
Another local resident from Wayfaring Court told the Havering Daily.
‘Yesterday I was on my balcony hanging out the washing, as I walked back into my living room which is next to the apartment that was on fire I could see a small fire on the balcony.
‘It was coming from a barbecue which looked like a disposable one. It was balanced on a cardboard box from what I could see. The barbecue must have then gone through to the cardboard box and then out of no where, a massive bang went off.
‘I ran and looked through my window and saw that the fire had then gotten bigger and now starting to spread on to the balcony. The glass panels on the balcony where cracking and then exploding from the heat which was the loud banging noise we could hear.
‘The guy who owns the property was just standing on his balcony looking at it. I saw that the fire was now getting out of control. The guy had artificial grass on his balcony, which he then threw that at the fire that of course made the fire bigger.
‘I was shouting out the window telling him to call the fire brigade but he completely ignored me, so I took action myself and called 999.
‘As we were waiting for them to arrive the guy then comes up with a bucket of water and threw that at the fire which by now had spread massively!
‘The fire brigade arrived within in 2 minutes, they did a amazing job making sure everything was under control no one was injured.’
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