Sadiq Khan aware of apartment 'issues' before Barking blaze

Fire destroyed 20 apartments in Barking in east London on Sunday

Monday, June 10, 2019

Sadiq Khan has revealed a block of London flats that were destroyed in a fire yesterday were on City Hall’s radar before the blaze.

In a statement, he said his team had been in contact with the Barking-based building’s owner to “resolve issues previously raised by residents” despite the property being out of his jurisdiction.

A spokeswoman for City Hall told talkRADIO that residents had raised other issues about the building, including heating.

The fire in Barking in east London destroyed 20 flats, and a further 10 were damaged by heat and smoke.

Two people were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene.

The London Mayor said the fire shows government and developers have been “woefully slow” in responding to the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

On Twitter he said: “This incident highlights both City Hall’s total lack of control of powers over private building owners, and the woefully slow response from the government and developers to the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower.”

He added: “Two years on, residents in blocks of flats are still living in fear that their buildings are unsafe.”

Mr Khan said he will be “pushing for vital changes to be made and the safety of residents ensured".

The cause of the fire is not known and an investigation has been launched.

Residents said there was no fire alarm during the blaze, and they suspect wooden balconies along the building allowed the fire to spread quickly.

Resident Mihaela Gheorghe told the BBC she’d warned the builders and the council “one day a fire is going to happen”.

"I was in my fourth-floor flat when the fire started. We ran out. The fire brigade came but they found it hard to find a water supply at first,” she said.

She added: "We raised several issues to the builder, the maintenance companies and the council about the safety of having all these wooden balconies.”

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