Whitechapel tower block blaze: Woman rescued from 17th floor

The blaze broke out on the 17th floor of the 21-storey the Relay Building in Whitechapel High Street

The blaze broke out on the 17th floor of the 21-storey the Relay Building in Whitechapel High Street just before 4pm on March 7 - Credit: PA

A woman was rescued after fire broke out in a high-rise block of flats and offices in east London yesterday afternoon.

London Fire Brigade was called to the blaze on the 17th floor of the 21-storey the Relay Building in Whitechapel High Street just before 4pm on March 7.

The blaze broke out on the 17th floor of the 21-storey the Relay Building in Whitechapel High Street

The blaze broke out on the 17th floor of the 21-storey the Relay Building in Whitechapel High Street just before 4pm on March 7 - Credit: PA

Footage from the scene showed bright orange flames burning through a floor of the building as debris fell off the side.

Fire crews used a fire escape hood to help lead the woman to safety via the internal staircase.

Twenty fire engines and 125 firefighters had the fire was under control within three hours.

Station commander Chris Jenner, who was at the scene, said: “This was a dynamic and visible fire with our 999 control officers taking more than 50 calls in the early stages.

“A woman was trapped by the nature of the fire on the 17th floor. She was given fire survival advice by control officers until firefighters located her.

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“We mobilised a 64 metre turntable ladder to the scene. This is the tallest firefighting ladder in Europe and allowed us to get water onto the fire from outside the building.

“Around 60 people evacuated the building with others remaining in their unaffected flats."

He added: “The professionalism, hard work and quick actions of control officers and firefighters limited the damage to the block and prevented serious injuries.”

The blaze broke out on the 17th floor of the 21-storey the Relay Building in Whitechapel High Street

The blaze broke out on the 17th floor of the 21-storey the Relay Building in Whitechapel High Street just before 4pm on March - Credit: PA

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

London Ambulance Service took one patient to hospital, and crews checked a small number of people at the scene.

Road closures were in place, with the A11 Whitechapel High Street closed in both directions from A13 Commercial Road to Old Castle Street.

Lynn Ling, a London School of Economics student from China – who lives on the 20th floor with her husband Yuri, said the whole incident has been “very scary”.

She said: “I did not hear an alarm. I think there was a fire alarm on the ground floor but I could not hear it clearly on the 20th.

“I went out of my door but I found there was smoke in the corridor so I went downstairs."



London Ambulance Service advised people in Whitechapel to keep their windows closed and stay indoors as fire crews battled the blaze.