‘The trauma is still there’: Horror over fire in high rise flats near Grenfell Tower

A resident said the blaze was sparked by an electric scooter that was charging

Holly Bancroft,Imogen Ablett
Tuesday 21 June 2022 19:03
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Shepherd’s Bush fire: 60 firefighters tackle blaze in high rise near Grenfell Tower

Sixty firefighters have been tackling a fire in a high-rise residential block near Grenfell tower in west London.

London Fire Brigade said eight fire engines were at the scene and half of a flat on the twelfth floor was on fire.

The block of flats on Queensdale Crescent in Shepherd’s Bush is less than a 15-minute walk away from the site of the Grenfell Tower fire, that broke out on 14 June 2017 and killed 72 people.

Video taken from the scene of the fire by the BBC showed one flat blacked out by fire damage.

Liiban Shakat, 38, a resident of the flat, said that his friend was charging his electric bike at his home in the same room that the fire was sparked.

He told the Independent that his friend said that, while charging the bike, he noticed smoke coming from the charging point. When he went to unplug the charger, it exploded.

After that, everything around caught fire immediately, he said.

Mr Shakat immediately tried to put the fire out with cups and buckets of water but he said it only made the fire worse.

Neither fire alarm nor sprinklers went off inside the flat, he said, so he knocked on his neighbors’ doors before running down the stairs to get outside.

His friend got taken to hospital with smoke inhalation, he said.

Mr Shakat said he rembered watching the Grenfell Tower fire from outside his flat when it happened and that fear of such a catastophe from happening again led him to flee the building.

Kemal Drankai lives in a flat – a few floors above the one where the fire broke out – with his wife and 18-month-old baby. He said he was out working at the time when he got a frantic call from his wife.

He said his wife grabbed their child and passports before fleeing the building after she saw smoke coming through their windows.

Mr Drankai said he;d already been going through problems with the council, having complained for years about black mould and dampness in his flat, an issue which he now thinks is a cause of their child’s health problems.

He tearfully said that the trauma from the Grenfell fire is still felt in the North Kensington community, and that a lack of fire alarms makes it too unsafe for the family to stay in the flat.

The fire at the residental block in Shepherds Bush can be seen in the distance

A number of patients were treated at the scene, according to the London Ambulance Service.

Three people from the affected flat had left before the fire brigade arrived and a number of other residents were evacuated from the building this morning.

“Firefighters led six residents to safety via an internal staircase. Further residents who were not affected by fire, heat or smoke were advised to remain in their flats,” station commander David Bracewell, who was at the scene, said.

Grenfell Tower is pictured with the Shepherd’s Bush fire in the distance

London Fire Brigade said that they used new technology that enabled a 999 caller to send a live stream video of the fire straight to their emergency call centre.

They received the call about the fire at 9:23am. “The cause of the fire is not known at this stage,” they added.

The fire service said they used a 32m turntable ladder to put water on the outside of the building.

Last week marked five years since the Grenfell Tower tragedy which claimed the lives of 72 residents.

Hundreds of people gathered at Westminster Abbey last Tuesday to reflect on the time that has passed since the blaze on 14 June 2017.

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