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Newham Council defends ‘stay put’ fire policy after Stratford tower block blaze

PUBLISHED: 15:45 16 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:46 16 April 2018

Fire damage to Stratford tower block David Lee Point. Picture: Ken Mears

Fire damage to Stratford tower block David Lee Point. Picture: Ken Mears

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Newham Council has defended the ‘stay put’ policy for tower block fires after flames broke out in a Stratford high-rise.

About 100 people fled their homes early this morning as fire engulfed a 17th floor flat at David Lee Point.

Nearly 60 firefighters attended the scene in Leather Gardens after receiving the first of 26 calls to the blaze at 1.22am.

While flames were brought under control about an hour and a half later with no-one reported injured, residents raised concerns about the lack of general fire alarms in the 21-storey building.

In a statement, the council said alarms in communal areas were not needed due to the building’s ‘stay put’ policy.

“Newham Council has carried out extensive checks on all its tall blocks (including David Lee Point) since the Grenfell fire last year and has implemented additional safety measures wherever necessary,” it read, adding: “In line with other tower blocks across London, in the event of a fire, David Lee Point has a ‘stay put’ policy in place. This policy is in line with the advice of London Fire Brigade as there are safety measures in place such as fire lobbies, fire doors and protected escape routes which will ensure a fire occurring within an individual flat will be contained.

“These measures worked last night ensuring the fire did not spread further than the property it started in.”

Sadek Ali, 40, a resident in the adjacent Brassett Point high-rise, said he was woken by his wife before fire crews arrived.

“After Grenfell, we were all concerned,” he said, describing residents honking their horns in the car park below to wake others.

“I could hear things falling down.”

Charred debris, including window glass, was reported scattered in the car park, though this had been cleared by the afternoon.

“I heard a lot of noise,” said neighbour Maciej Choromnski, 25, of Abbey Road.

“People started shouting ‘help, help’—we thought it may be mobs in the street.”

Fire engines from Stratford, Plaistow, Leyton, East Ham, Bethnal Green and surrounding fire stations attended the scene.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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