Families move back into Dorrington Point in Bow after explosion
PUBLISHED: 12:30 16 July 2013 | UPDATED: 14:20 16 July 2013
Families have been moving back into the tower block in London’s East End that was rocked by an explosion.
Three people had to be rescued and 200 more fled after a the blast ripped through the 12-storey Dorrington Point on Sunday afternoon.
The blast shattered windows, smashed doors and caused a fierce blaze that swept through the fifth and sixth floors—so hot it melted thick copper cables and cut the electricity.
Eye witnesses saw “a massive fireball” and huge pall of smoke at the block on the Bow Bridge Estate as glass showered Bromley High Street 50ft below.
“I thought it was a bomb,” said 18-year-old Remina Aktar on the eighth floor. “The explosion shook the whole building.
“I ran to the window and heard a man calling up from the street to get out quickly because the building was on fire.
“It felt like the floor was shifting, like I was in a lift going down.
“I called mum and woke my baby sister and we rushed down the stairs.”
Remina fled with her sisters, brothers and parents along with other families.
Shopkeeper Mohammed Islam, 49, gave evacuated tenants food and water at his store opposite, including a mother with a four-month-old baby.
He said: “I heard the bang and saw a massive fireball. I was worried there would be people trapped and ran across and shouted to them.”
Fire-crews wearing breathing apparatus had to fight their way through the acrid smoke to reach those trapped on the fifth floor.
They helped five more down the stairs as the evacuation of the block got under way.
A baby was treated by paramedics. A man in his 60s had cuts and bruises and an elderly woman was taken to hospital suffering from the effects of the smoke.
Sabiha Khanom, who lives one floor below the fire with her husband and baby girl of six months, no longer feels safe in Dorrington Point.
“The building is damaged,” she said. “I’m worried about the baby because the smell of smoke is still strong.
“We’ve got fire damage and water is still dripping into our home.”
Passerby Anne-Marie McShane, 48, ran to get clear as glass showered the street. She said: “There was a terrible explosion above me and I had to run across the road. It was frightening.”
The evacuated families began moving back last night, many having spent the night at bed-and-breakfast hotels.
They have been cleaning up their homes, some with ruined carpets, doors off hinges, cracked and broken balcony windows.
Two men have been given police bail to return next month after being arrested on Sunday in connection with the blaze.