Hero builder saved baby from Hackney arson attack after climbing ladder into flames

Hero builder at Hackney house fire: ‘I wasn’t thinking of myself, every human would have done the same’

Barney Davis,Jabed Ahmed
Friday 22 March 2024 14:21 GMT
London house is torched in 'anti-Semitic hate crime'

A builder has spoken of the moment he saved a baby from a raging fire arson attack in east London.

A man in his sixties was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of starting the fire, which gutted a house on Newick Road in Hackney at around midday.

Krzysztof Bozych, 48, was working two doors down from the fire when he heard a loud explosion in the road where six-bedroom homes can fetch £1.7m.

One woman had already jumped from the top floor and was lying in the garden with a broken leg, neighbours said.

A video from the scene in Newick Road showed a house being destroyed by flames (My London/BMP Media)

Mr Bozych told The Independent: “I heard a boom; it was so loud. I went on the roof like, what the hell is going on?

“I heard a woman screaming from a window, ‘It’s a fire, help me please.’ There was no time to wait.

“I ripped open the fence and grabbed a ladder. The mother was so scared she was going to jump on me just as I was climbing the ladder.

“I said, ‘Calm down, relax, we are going to get you out.’

“She passed me the baby, I think. I realised I had a baby in my hand. I thought, ‘I’m going to be a godfather.’

“I wasn’t thinking of myself, every human would have done the same.”

Krzysztof Bozych, 48, said anyone would have done the same thing as him (Jabed Ahmed/ The Independent)

He added: “The mum was crying all the time she was in shock. They lost everything, nothing could be saved. She was so scared. I took her to safety at the end of the garden.”

Police said the suspect later shouted “threatening comments, some of which were allegedly antisemitic” when he was being arrested.

Four people suffered non-life-threatening injuries as a result of the fire, while the suspect also was left with minor injuries. He is currently being treated in hospital.

The burnt out flats in Hackney (Barney Davis/The Independent)

One neighbour said: “I heard a massive boom like it was a truck crashing into my wall. My cutlery was rattling I ran around knocking on doors trying to get everyone out. It was really scary.”

Another neighbour described a man opening the door to the ground-floor property moments before the fireball engulfed the house, which is split into three flats.

Locals said they were unaware of whether a Jewish family lived at the house of multiple occupancy.

The ground floor flat is completely burnt out (Barney Davis/The Independent)

The Metropolitan Police said the man was arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life, as well for making the allegedly antisemitic comments.

DCS James Conway, responsible for policing in Hackney, said: “On his arrest the man made a number of threatening comments, some of which were allegedly antisemitic.

“We take instances of antisemitism extremely seriously and for this reason we’re investigating the incident as a potential hate crime.

“Undoubtedly this will be extremely concerning news for our Jewish communities in Hackney and beyond, and I and my officers will be engaging with partners including the Community Safety Trust and the Shomrim, to answer their questions and listen to their views.

“Whilst the investigation will continue to explore the motivation for this offence, we believe at this stage that this was centred on a localised housing-related issue. We have no indication, at this very early stage, that the motivation was connected with any specific local or global events.”

Police said that the incident was not being treated as terror related (Barney Davis/The Independent)

He added that the incident was not being treated as terror-related and the Met has increased patrols and enhanced police visibility as Jewish communities begin celebrations for the Purim holiday period.

A Community Security Trust spokesperson said: “This appears to be a very serious incident and we appreciate the police’s swift action.

“We have been in contact with police since yesterday and we will be working with them to provide reassurance to the local Jewish community over the coming days.”

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