March 8 2014 Latest news:
Kay Atwal, Chief Reporter
Monday, December 2, 2013
Fire investigators are trying to discover the cause of a blaze that damaged a derelict Grade II listed court house yesterday afternoon.
Firefighters were called at 3pm to the former magistrates court and mortuary building at the rear of the Old Town Hall in Stratford.
Crews from Stratford, Plaistow, Leytonstone and Walthamstow tackled the blaze with an aerial appliance. Although the building was empty, firefighters used thermal imaging cameras to search it.
West Ham Lane from Tramway Avenue to Bryant Street was closed while fire crews fought the blaze. People were allowed back into the Town Hall building after about an hour.
The fire caused internal damage to the ground floor. The first floor rear section of the courthouse building was damaged by smoke and water. There was no damage to the mortuary section.
The building is thought to be structurally sound although Newham Council, which owns it, arranged for parts to be boarded up for extra support.
A council spokesperson said: “The alarm was raised by staff at the Town Hall who saw smoke coming from the building. They are to be congratulated because their prompt action in alerting the emergency services limited the amount of damage done to the building. They also supervised the smooth evacuation of more than 200 people who were using the Town Hall as a place of worship and the car park at the back of the building. This was done as a precautionary measure, not because there was any risk to safety, but to allow emergency services quicker and easier access.”