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Families rescued by ladder in red alert’ asbestos scare

PUBLISHED: 00:23 23 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:23 05 October 2010

FAMILIES were evacuated from their homes during the night after asbestos fibres became exposed on a housing estate in London’s East End. Emergency fire-crews had to evacuate the families down ladders from window ledges into the street when the asbestos dust became too dangerous to get them through the corridor

EXCLUSIVE by Else Kvist

FAMILIES were evacuated from their homes during the night after asbestos fibres became exposed on a housing estate in London’s East End.

Emergency fire-crews had to evacuate the families down ladders from window ledges into the street when the asbestos dust became too dangerous to get them to safety through the corridor.

Aerial ladders were put up to reach two men trapped on the top floor during the evacuation of the four-storey block in McCullum Road, Old Ford.

PROTECTIVE MASKS

Eye-witness Melissa Deans, 24, who lives opposite, told the East London Advertiser tonight: “One of the men being rescued was almost sitting on a fireman’s shoulders as he was brought down the ladder.”

Asbestos experts wearing masks and special protective suits were carrying out samples from the building earlier today (Friday).

The samples from the 1970s former Tower Hamlets council estate showed a dangerous asbestos reading.

So an immediate emergency contingency plan was put into operation and crews from nearby Bow fire-station brought in.

EMERGENCY ACCOMODATION

Families were put in emergency accommodation at a hotel two miles away on the Isle of Dogs while others chose to stay with relatives.

Old Ford Housing Association which now manages the estate said: “We found temporary accommodation for 11 adults, four children, one dog and one hamster as a precautionary measure.

“All of the properties have now been given the all clear’ and residents will be spending the Bank Holiday at home.”

The housing organisation has set up a telephone hotline for families worried about asbestos on: 0800-073 0427.

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