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Firemen pay tribute to tragic Shannen and her gran

PUBLISHED: 19:36 02 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:08 05 October 2010

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Olivia Harris, oliviaharris@mac.com 07881 810 878

FIREFIGHTERS lay a wreath outside Malmesbury House in London’s East End—six days after 17-year-old Shannen Vickers and her 57-year-old gran Pauline Adams died in an arson attack. The crew from Bethnal Green fire-station were just 200 yards from the blaze on the fifth floor of the block in Cyprus Street—unaware of the 5.45am tragedy on February 22

By Mike Brooke

FIREFIGHTERS lay a wreath outside Malmesbury House in London’s East End—six days after 17-year-old Shannen Vickers and her 57-year-old gran Pauline Adams died in an arson attack.

The crew from Bethnal Green fire-station were just 200 yards from the blaze on the fifth floor of the block in Cyprus Street—unaware of the 5.45am tragedy on February 22.

They had been called out minutes earlier to another arson in Welwyn Street round the corner. Police have linked the two incidents.

“We only realised there was a blaze at Malmesbury House after we’d put out the fire in Welwyn Street,” said a fire brigade officer.

“We heard the call on the radio from Bow fire-station requesting assistance when we got back into the fire-engine and realised we were just 200 yards away.”

The Bow fire crew turned up between five and six minutes after the alarm was raised, followed by crews from Whitechapel, Shoreditch, Homerton and Leytonstone. Several 999 calls were made to Fire Brigade HQ during those minutes.

Bethnal Green fire-station in Roman Road, close by, was less than two minutes from Malmesbury House—had the crew not been diverted to the first incident. Fire Brigade union officials say these were vital minutes that could have increased the chance of rescue.

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