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Five flee as night blaze engulfs building in 40ft flames

PUBLISHED: 22:53 24 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:39 05 October 2010

Inferno captured in dramatic pictures by Advertiser reader Alan Wenham

Inferno captured in dramatic pictures by Advertiser reader Alan Wenham

FIVE men were trapped when fire broke out in the middle of the night in a derelict pub—one was injured leaping from a window ledge seconds before the roof above burst into flame. The inferno is captured in these dramatic pictures by an Advertiser reader just seconds after two of the men jumped 15ft to safety. Nearby families were woken at 3am on Saturday when the fire broke out in the derelict pub at the top of Brady Street in Bethnal Green

Mike Brooke

FIVE men were trapped when fire broke out in the middle of the night in a derelict pub—one was injured leaping from a window ledge seconds before the roof above burst into flame.

The inferno is captured in these dramatic pictures by an East London Advertiser reader just seconds after two of the men jumped 15ft to safety.

Nearby families were woken at 3am on Saturday when the fire broke out in the derelict pub at the top of Brady Street in Bethnal Green.

Alan Wenham, who took the pictures, was woken up by people shouting up to the men trapped in the three-storey building as smoke poured out.

“The men were still in the building as the flames spread,” he said.

“I thought they were going to die—I was frightened for them.

“Three of them emerged through the door coughing from the thick smoke.

“There were still two trapped upstairs—but they managed to jump moments before the flames shot up by the side and very quickly consuming the whole building.”

One of them, a 27-year-old, was hurt jumping from the window ledge and was treated for leg injuries by a rapid-response ambulance paramedic team at the scene.

He was taken “as a priority” to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel for the effects of inhaling smoke, the London Ambulance Service later confirmed.

It took an hour for 20 firefighters to bring the blaze under control as police cordoned off the area.

The building had been occupied by squatters on the first and second floors who are known by members of the Good Shepherd Mission church round the corner in Three Colts Lane, where Advertiser reader Mr Wenham is an outreach worker.

Most of the homeless are desperate immigrant workers from Eastern Europe who he has been trying to help.

“There are large numbers of homeless immigrants in Bethnal Green who have to make money scavenging and selling scrap metal,” he added.

“Some are forced to get into illegal street fighting to raise money.”

The mission provides food and clothing on its weekly outreach’ programme making contact with the homeless outside Whitechapel Underground station.

Many end up in squalid conditions in derelict buildings like the disused pub in Brady Street and a makeshift camp in Weaversfield park close by, says the mission.

All that’s left of the disused pub where many had sheltered is a burnt-out shell which has now been board up.

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