Dorrington Point tower blaze families given fire safety tips 3 days before

Youngster tries out a fire-engine at Bow Bridge Estate [Picture: Rehan Jamil]

Youngster tries out a fire-engine at Bow Bridge Estate [Picture: Rehan Jamil] - Credit: Poplar Harca

Hundreds of tenants on a housing estate in London’s East End where a blast rocked a tower block were given fire safety advice only three days before, it has emerged.

Dorrington Point... wrecked flat on 5th floor

Dorrington Point... wrecked flat on 5th floor - Credit: Archant

Fire crews and police had turned up at the Bow Bridge Estate “to make sure residents feel safe,” part of a safety day organised by Poplar Harca community estate landlords.

But three days later, the fire crews returned—this time to evacuate the same families after Sunday afternoon’s explosion that ripped through the fifth and sixth floors of the 12-storey Dorrington Point in Bromley-by-Bow.

It followed the safety day when Poplar Harca told tenants on Thursday how to deal with fire danger and with anti-social behaviour.

“We want to make sure residents feel safe in their homes,” said a spokesman. “We also encouraged them to report problems.”

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Families had their smoke alarms tested by the fire brigade, or had new ones fitted if needed, and got tips from police on reporting yobs roaming the streets.

Harca’s Jamie Lock said: “We got information from residents about safety concerns. It was a case for most of knowing that we are here to help.”

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But three days on, the families no longer had that ‘comfort’ feeling.

Remina Aktar, 18, who fled from the eighth floor with her brothers, sisters and parents when the explosion shook Dorrington Point, said: “We don’t feel safe living in a high block. It affects everyone.

“We’ve been left with broken doors and windows and can’t lock the door. I don’t think I want to live here any more.”

A Lithuanian couple on the floor above the blaze have had to throw out carpets damaged by smoke and water. Their balcony glass parapet is badly cracked, their front-door broken and there is smoke damage in every room.

Young mum Sabiha Khanom, who lives one floor below the fire, said: “You never know if it will happen again. It’s difficult enough getting out with the baby.”

The housing organisation put six families up in hotels overnight following Sunday’s explosion. The families moved back on Monday, but many are left with ruined carpets and furniture, doors off hinges and windows cracked.

Poplar Harca plans similar safety visits to its other housing estates in the coming months.

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