Monday Jun 26, 2017
LONDON: A huge fire, which erupted in an apartment block late Sunday night here in Mansfield Road Gospel Oak, spreading from one of the flats on the second floor, is now under control, London Fire Brigade said.
Despite speculations, the cause of the flames, however, has not been identified yet. One of the flats in Waxham House on Mansfield Road – between Camden and West Hampstead – caught fire, which rapidly enveloped the neighbouring apartments, Heathery Doune, a witness, told Geo.tv.
"One man was treated by London Ambulance Service for smoke inhalation," London Fire Brigade revealed in a statement on its website, adding that the second-floor apartment was "badly damaged" with some portions of the two flats above the destroyed one also impacted by the fire.
In addition, the department stated that people "who were in the hallways, stairwells, and common parts of the block" were asked to leave while those who were inside at the time of the fire and not affected by the consequent smoke were told to stay put.
Firefighters immediately reached the scene of the blaze in West Hampstead area, which comes just a few days following the deadly incident in Grenfell Tower that left at least 79 people dead and countless others injured.
The road near Royal Free Hospital was closed off temporarily while the emergency services attended to the incident, local media outlet Sun said.
“It is incidents like this which show how important it is to know what to do in the event of a fire, especially if you live in a flat," Wayne Johnson, a station manager who was present at the site, commented.
The official urged people to install fire and smoke alarms in their houses and to get them checked for functionality regularly.
Speaking exclusively to Geo.tv via Twitter's message service, Doune – who is a writer and lives in the same building – said she was alarmed when "she heard a huge amount of sirens".
As she walked to her window, she saw that one of the apartments on her level had caught fire since "perhaps someone had decided to have a barbeque on their balcony, but I don't actually know what started the fire".
While chaos ensued and Doune rounded up her cats, the London Fire Brigade had already arrived and "were dousing the buildings with water," she noted.
Doune explained that the situation was especially troublesome since "our lifts don't work", "some of the elderly people in the flats didn't want to leave their flats", and "most of the one bedroom flats [in Camden's high-rise apartment blocks] now have whole families living in them".
The "level of smoke and how quickly it took hold was more of a worry" too, Doune mentioned, as flames usually do not spread so fast.
Sixty high-rise buildings have failed safety tests carried out after the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the British government said on Sunday.
British officials are conducting tests on some 600 high-rise buildings across England after a fire ravaged the Grenfell Tower block in west London on June 14, prompting public anger over the Conservative government's budget cuts.
On Friday, some 4,000 residents were forced to evacuate their homes in north London after the fire brigade ruled that their blocks were unsafe.
The Department for Communities said in a statement that 60 high rise buildings across 25 local authority areas had now failed the tests.
The government had collected nearly 34 external cladding samples, all of which failed to pass the "combustibility test," Community Secretary Sajid Javid said, according to Fox News.
—Content shared by individuals on social media has not been independently verified.
—Editing by Haseem uz Zaman