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Family asleep in blaze flat woken by passer-by

PUBLISHED: 09:29 31 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:44 05 October 2010

A FAMILY was woken up by a passer-by banging on their bedroom window to warn them there was a fire at their front door. Police are investigating the blaze in London's East End thought to have been deliberately started in the entrance lobby to the 16-storey Darnley House block of flats in Camdenhurst Street, Stepney, at 5am this morning (Friday)

Mike Brooke

A FAMILY was woken up by a passer-by banging on their bedroom window to warn them there was a fire at their front door.

Police are investigating the blaze in London’s East End thought to have been deliberately started in the entrance lobby to the 16-storey Darnley House block of flats in Camdenhurst Street, Stepney, at 5am this morning (Friday).

An early morning commuter on his way to work spotted the flames in the lobby and managed to rouse the occupants in a ground-floor flat who dialled 999.

The emergency operator advised the family over the phone to keep their front-door closed until firefighters arrived from Poplar and Millwall fire-stations.

A pile of old heaters stacked up against the family’s front-door had been deliberately set alight, said fire investigators.

Police from Limehouse scene of crime’ office were called in and have been examining footage from a CCTV camera in the lobby this morning to try and discover who started the blaze.

Smoke from the fire seeped into the lift-shaft and caused all 16 storeys of Darnley House to become smokelogged, said senior fire officers. The 100 families in the block were also being advised to keep their front-doors closed until the building had been ventilated.

But there were no evacuations and no-one was hurt. The ground-floor blaze was under control in 10 minutes after fire crews arrived.

Emergency fire crews were also called out three hours earlier to a night-time blaze two miles away in a shop at Columbia Road in Bethnal Green.

The blaze damaged part of the ground floor of the premises, but fire crews from Shoreditch managed to prevent it spreading to flats above. No-one was hurt.

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