Woman describes close shave after East Ham fire

A Beckton convenience store and several homes were saved from serious fire damage thanks to the intervention of a keen-eyed neighbour.

Piles of rubbish were ablaze at the back of the store in East Ham Manor Way in the early hours of last Friday morning - and the flames were on course to spread to the building itself.

Halima Patel, who lives directly opposite in Agnes Close, woke up to go to the bathroom and spotted the fire through her window.

She woke up her husband Shakil, who contacted the fire brigade.

She said: “The fire was just getting bigger, but the shop owners were asleep inside and all the neighbours were asleep.

“I said to my husband ‘quick we need to get out’ because we were worried that it might spread to our house as well. So we did but there was just so much smoke outside. “All these people were upstairs in their houses and didn’t seem to have a clue.”

Mrs Patel, who is a property insurance lawyer, then rang the emergency services a second time.

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Two engines from East Ham and Plaistow arrived to tackle the blaze at about 2.40am. It is believed to have originated within the piles of rubbish.

It was only after they came that residents started to evacuate their homes.

Fortunately, nobody was hurt in the fire and it was under control within 30 minutes.

Mrs Patel added: “The shopowners couldn’t thank my husband enough. If we were asleep as well nobody might have known about it.

“I was shocked and astonished because I deal with these kinds of things in my job but it actually happened in front of my own eyes.”

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.