Two rescued from Bethnal Green pub fire

FIRE engines descended on Bethnal Green on Friday morning as smoke poured from windows above the Salmon and Ball pub on the corner of Cambridge Heath Road and Bethnal Green Road.

As firefighters were busy rescuing one man from the first floor, passers-by drew their attention to another in distress on the second.

A witness working opposite the pub said: “I saw the smoke and was worried about the two people getting out.

“One seemed quite elderly, but they were both brought down safely and were walking which was good to see.”

Both men were taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation and shock.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, but it is believed to have started on the first floor, a quarter of which was damaged in the blaze.

After being alerted by smoke alarms, the two tenants left their rooms only to be forced back inside by thick black smoke in the corridors.

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Fire Brigade spokesman John Lalor said: “This was yet another reminder of how vital it is to have a working smoke alarm, without which the people inside might not have escaped so lightly.”

The Bethnal Green area has had a special resonance with the fire service since the deaths of two firefighters tackling a shop blaze in Bethnal Green in 2004.

Thirty firefighters and six fire engines attended Friday’s fire, closing off the end of Bethnal Green Rd to traffic and pedestrians.

The fire brigade was called to the incident at 10.25am and declared it safe at 11.46am.