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Poplar fire: Two in hospital after fire breaks out at tower block with Grenfell-type cladding

·3-min read
 (PA)
(PA)

More than 100 firefighters and 20 fire engines were called to tackle a blaze at a 19-storey block of flats in east London.

Fire engulfed parts of New Providence Wharf in Poplar, London Fire Brigade said.

Two men were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation, while the London Ambulance Service treated 38 adults and four children at the scene for shock and respiratory issues.

Around 20 per cent of the building’s facade features ACM PE cladding panels – which were found to be a key factor in the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.

Work to replace the cladding was “underway”, building developer Ballymore said in a statement. The main contractor had been due to take possession of the site on Monday.

Survivors’ and relatives’ group Grenfell United said in a statement: “We are horrified by the news of the fire at the New Providence Wharf today. When will the government take this scandal seriously? Enough is enough.

“The government promised to remove dangerous cladding by June 2020 – it has completely failed its own target and every day that goes by lives are at risk. Today more people have lost their homes in another terrifying fire.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The spectre of the tragedy at Grenfell still hangs over our city. Today we have seen again why residents in buildings with flammable cladding are living in fear.

Pictures and footage on social media showed flames leaping from part of the building as smoke billowed from the windows.

“People were stuck on balconies shouting for help,” one resident told MyLondon. “The fire is out so we have come back in now. I’m just hoping there are no casualties.”

Another resident said the building was covered in the “same” type of cladding used on Grenfell Tower.

A spokesperson for the fire brigade said: “Twenty fire engines and around 125 firefighters were called to a fire at a block of flats on Fairmont Avenue in Poplar.

“Parts of the eighth, ninth and tenth floors of a 19-storey block were alight. Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus have carried out multiple rescues. Two men have been taken to hospital suffering smoke inhalation. A further 38 adults and four children have been treated at the scene by London Ambulance Service crews for shock and smoke inhalation. The cause of the fire is under investigation.”

The London Ambulance service also rushed to the scene.

“We have responded alongside the London Fire Brigade to a fire in a residential building in Poplar,” a spokesperson said.

Apsana Begum, the Poplar & Limehouse Labour MP, tweeted: “LFBTowerHamlets are working to tackle a fire at New Providence Wharf.

“I met constituents here again recently – left unsafe for 2yrs+ without reports, surveys. Meanwhile developer Ballymore continue to build & profit in £ms.”

Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats said: “It is simply a national scandal that more has not been done by government to remove this dangerous cladding.”

Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said: “It is extremely alarming to see another high-rise building in the heart of London light up in flames.

“It should shame this government that four years on from Grenfell there are people across the country living in buildings wrapped in flammable cladding.

“Time and time again we've warned that another Grenfell could be just around the corner unless they prioritise making people’s homes safe.”

Ballymore said: “Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this morning’s fire at New Providence Wharf. The safety of our residents is paramount and we are working closely with the London Fire Brigade.

“We can confirm that the fire was quickly brought under control by the Fire Brigade and is now extinguished. Our response team are on-site to support residents and assist with alternative accommodation where necessary.”

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