People being treated by paramedics at tower block blaze near Grenfell

Image caption,

Smoke damage at Queensdale Crescent

A tower block fire in west London, less than a mile (1.6km) from Grenfell Tower, was started by an electric bike battery malfunctioning as it charged.

Resident Liiban Shakat feared he was “going to die” when his friend woke him and led him to a guest bedroom engulfed in flames on the 12th floor.

He described how his friend’s “mouth was black because he inhaled so much smoke” and needed hospital treatment.

About 60 firefighters were sent to the Shepherd’s Bush fire at 09:23 BST.

London Ambulance Service confirmed paramedics assessed two more people at the scene in Queensdale Crescent.

The scorched windows of Mr Shakat’s home at the Stebbing House flats, less than a mile (1.6km) from Grenfell Tower where a fire claimed 72 lives in 2017, can clearly be seen.

Image caption,

About 30 residents evacuated the building before the fire service arrived

Mr Shakat, 38, said the fire started in his guest bedroom where his friend, who was staying for several days, had been charging an e-bike battery.

Speaking to reporters outside the building and still wearing his macawis, a traditional Somali style of pyjamas, he said: “[My friend] was in the room that caught on fire. He was in the bed. His mouth was black because he inhaled so much smoke.”

The friend woke Mr Shakat and led him to the fire and, half-awake, he rushed to pour a bucket of water over the burning debris, which Mr Shakat said had made the fire worse.

“Something was coming from the bike, smoke, so he unplugged it. Now the debris, the plastic, the fire caught the whole place, the windows the bed,” Mr Shakat, who had lived in the building for 20 years, said through a translator.

We were called at 9.45am to reports of a fire at a block of flats on Queensdale Crescent.

We sent resources to the scene, including two ambulances and our Hazardous Area Response Team.

Two patients were assessed at the scene and another was treated and taken to hospital. https://t.co/IlD8ml0DC7

— London Ambulance Service 💙 (@Ldn_Ambulance) June 21, 2022

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

He ran to try and escape the building and alert his neighbours by knocking on nearby doors on the 12th floor, and at least 30 residents fled the building as plumes of black smoke were seen billowing out of windows.

Mr Shakat claimed no fire alarm had sounded but a spokesman for the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF), which manages the building, said the fire alarm in his flat definitely did work but Mr Shakat did not hear it because he was outside the building.

The spokesman added the flats had all been fitted with the “highest-rated fire doors on the market” and “compartmentalisation worked” in keeping the fire contained to one flat.

The block contains 180 flats, he added, and there were six residents with Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (Peeps) who were helped to safety by firefighters.

Jonathan Stone, the council’s building safety manager, said fire safety measures taken by the local authorities had “prevented another Grenfell”.

Image caption,

The scorched windows of the flat can clearly be seen

An LFB spokesman said 30 residents had left the block before LFB arrived, but added “generally” it was “safer to remain in your flat” because “we don’t want people necessarily going into smoke-filed corridors”.

Station commander David Bracewell, who was at the scene, said: “Three people from the affected flat left before the brigade arrived. A number of other residents evacuated the building. Firefighters led six residents to safety via an internal staircase.”

An LFB spokesperson said the fire was under control by 11:00.

Kensington MP Felicity Buchan tweeted: “Very concerning to hear about the high rise fire at Queensdale Crescent in Shepherds Bush.”

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