Evacuated families wait to return after fire in 10-storey block in Bethnal Green
PUBLISHED: 19:43 04 July 2018 | UPDATED: 00:44 05 July 2018
A Syrian war refugee whose best friend died in the Grenfell fire disaster was one of the tenants and families in Bethnal Green who were barred from returning to their homes today after a blaze broke out in their block of flats.
Dental lab technician Ayman Salhani was returning after picking up his children from school when he was stopped at a police barrier that had been thrown around Kinsham House, off Vallance Road.
Four emergency fire-crews were tackling the blaze in a split-level maisonette on the fifth and sixth floor.
“I’ve been here in temporary council accommodation for nearly four years after escaping the war in Syria,” Ayman told the East London Advertiser.
“I saw the smoke reaching up 150ft and could see the flames on the floors above where we live.
“Luckily my family was out—but it still makes me nervous about living in these blocks.
“My best friend Mohammed died in Grenfell Tower. He was here studying engineering.”
Two men were treated at the scene after inhaling smoke in this-afternoon’s incident. One was later taken by ambulance to the Royal London Hospital.
Families had to be evacuated from the 10-storey building and gathered on the lawn outside.
Supermarket security guard Abdul Gulaid’s family had to make their way through the smoke on the fifth floor when the fire broke out two doors along from their home.
He said: “The smoke was bad. It was dark and think. But everyone got out quickly, although there are still people coming out now.”
The father-of-eight added: “I saw an old lady coming down who refused to leave at first when the fire started. But we’re all out here now and hoping to go back soon.”
The families weren’t being allowed back until engineers brought in by Tower Hamlets Homes examined the two floors where the fire broke out to make sure there was no structural damage to the building.
Emergency crews from Whitechapel, Islington, the City and Kentish Town fire-stations brought the blaze under control after an-hour-and-a-quarter, but smoke damage was extensive.