Residents of east London high-rise building complained 'several times' about fire policies before major blaze

The London Fire Brigade was called to the building in Whitechapel High Street shortly before 16:00 local time on Monday

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Residents of a high-rise building in east London that set fire on Monday say they complained about the fire policies "several times" before the blaze broke out.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) was called to the building in Whitechapel High Street, Aldgate East shortly before 16:00 local time on Monday after a fire broke out on the 17th floor.

A total of 20 fire engines and 125 firefighters were deployed to the scene, while a 64 metre ladder was also used.

The LFB added that it saved a trapped woman from the blaze using a fire escape hood, while one person was also taken to hospital.

But a number of residents have since said they could not hear the firm alarms and were only alerted by word of mouth.

A total of 20 fire engines and 125 firefighters were deployed to the scene
A total of 20 fire engines and 125 firefighters were deployed to the scene

Resident Andrew Meikle, 58 said the residents have complained several times about the fire alarms, as well as the “stay put” policy to the three companies that manage the building - John D Wood, Network Homes and Rendall and Rittner.

Mr Meikle said: “There have been complaints about fire alarms, the “stay put” policy and the high risk of fires on the wooden balconies, and guess what was burning today? The wooden balconies.”

He added: “Someone needs to go to jail for this.”

The resident also confirmed that there had previously been smaller fires within the building where the fire alarms were also not heard.

“When the “stay put” policy fails alarms should be put in to tell people to get out,” he said.

“Why is someone running around banging on doors saying ‘get out, get out get out’ or a WhatsApp group telling the residents that there is a fire, the evacuation process we had?”

Mr Meikle said there had been previous small fires including one in December where the fire alarms were also not heard.

“When the 'stay put' policy fails alarms should be put in to tell people to get out,” he said.

“Why is someone running around banging on doors saying ‘get out, get out get out’ or a WhatsApp group telling the residents that there is a fire, the evacuation process we had?”

Younus Hussein, 61 also said he did not here the alarm and “If I did not hear the persistent knocks of my neighbours, I would probably still be asleep.”

Speaking about the state of the building, Mr Hussein added: “There are consistent problems with electricity, flooding, the alarms.”

“For the last eight weeks I have had no electricity in my bathroom,” Mr Hussein said, adding that he has been back and forth with Network Housing about how it is not simply a matter of changing the lightbulb.

“I’m a widower, I live of my own, I’m asthmatic.

“I had to lose work today, they are not going to pay me for the fire,” he said.

Network Homes, John D Wood and Rendall and Rittner have been contacted for comment.