IT WAS A slow return to normal in Aldgate this morning as firefighters dealt with the aftermath of the 17th floor fire in a tower block above Aldgate East Tube Station.
Twenty fire engines had come out to deal with the blaze, carrying around 125 firefighters between them. As well as dealing with the challenge of fighting a fire so high up, firefighters also had to take on thick black smoke and falling debris. According to the Fire Brigade, the cold light of morning left one three-roomed flat on the 17th floor completely destroyed, while a similar flat on the 18th floor and part of an external balcony on the 19th floor were both damaged by fire.
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. Fire crews used a fire escape hood to help lead the woman to safety via the internal staircase. Around 70 people evacuated the building with others remaining in their unaffected flats.
“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. The professionalism, hard work and quick actions of control officers and firefighters limited the damage to the block and prevented serious injuries.”
The London Ambulance Service announced that two people had been treated in hospital and two at the scene of the fire. It is believed that they were injured by falling debris.
The Brigade is now investigating the fire to try to establish how it was caused. Residents are reported to have said that no fire alarms were heard in the building when the blaze began. Residents and passers-by were quick to fill social media with praise for the firefighters’ response to the fire.
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