Poplar fire: London tower block blaze leaves two men in hospital

  • Published
Media caption,
Billowing black smoke reached the top of the building

A fire that badly damaged the middle floors of a 19-storey London tower block has left two men in hospital.

Four children and 38 adults were evacuated from the building in Poplar, London Fire Brigade (LFB) said.

More than 120 firefighters spent about three hours tackling the blaze at the New Providence Wharf estate.

About 20% of the façade of the affected section, Block D, features ACM PE cladding panels - found to be a key factor in the Grenfell Tower fire.

In a statement, LFB said that parts of the eighth, ninth and 10th floors of the east London tower block caught fire.

"Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus have carried out multiple rescues. Two men have been taken to hospital suffering [from the effects of] smoke inhalation."

Image source, Kenneth Law
Image caption,
Firefighters were called at 08:55 BST and had managed to bring the fire under control by about 11:30

Karen and John Archibald, who live with their daughter in an adjacent block, said they had been expecting scaffolders to arrive to remove cladding this week.

Residents in Block D said they were alerted by a security guard shouting at them to get out.

Matthew Robb saw thick smoke coming from the middle section as he left and said one woman was in tears having escaped from the building.

He said there has been frustration at delays in having the tower block's cladding replaced.

Image source, Kenneth Law
Image caption,
The cause of the fire is under investigation, LFB said

The development, owned by Irish company Ballymore, has 1,535 apartments across a number of buildings and houses a Radisson Blu hotel.

Work to replace cladding is "under way" and the main contractor had been due to take possession of the site on Monday, according to Ballymore.

An email sent to residents by the company, which has been seen by the BBC, said everyone had been evacuated and there were no life-threatening injuries.

'Really scary'

Kenneth Law, who lives in nearby Charrington Tower, described watching the blaze take hold.

He told the BBC: "I saw lots of black smoke coming from one of the apartments and then I saw flames and it quickly spread to the apartments above and debris started to fall out.

"Firefighters came quickly and then eventually managed to put out the fire.

"But it was really scary. I am on a resident WhatsApp group for the area and some people weren't even aware what was going on.

"Someone mentioned there was no fire alarm either, and many didn't know what was going on.

"Many residents have now been evacuated and there's a hotel next door so I believe they've been moved into there."

Image source, @AndrewMcCallum6
Image caption,
The building is part of the New Providence Wharf development

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs expressed his concern about the fire and said he was speaking to council officers and LFB.

He said: "I've been working with residents of this block for a long time to help them resolve fire safety issues. Their safety must come first."

A London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said they were called out at 09:05, and sent ambulance crews, clinical team managers, an emergency planning and resilience officer and hazardous area response teams.

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