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by Sam Blewett, Reporter
Friday, July 4, 2014
Two firefighters were injured and taken to hospital as they tackled a blaze believed to have been started by girls who set a bin on fire outside a dry cleaners.
They were hurt in the arson attack at Hornchurch Dry Cleaners, Station Lane, Hornchurch, on Sunday.
Janan Shakir, 41, who has owned the premises with her husband Ali, 45, for 18 years, sent the Recorder CCTV footage from the shop showing the girls appearing to light the bin.
Mrs Shakir said that the blaze was 15 minutes away from reaching a boiler which could have exploded.
Firefighters were called at 8.30pm, the same time the girls are caught on camera climbing over a fence to neighbouring shop Hornchurch News.
Mrs Shakir claims a witness saw the girls standing and watching the fire. “The girls stared on and watched the fire where two firemen were injured,” she said.
After viewing her store’s CCTV footage, she said: “As they set fire to the bin there was no panic in their eyes, there was no fear, it was like everyday business. It’s very strange, very disturbing.
“I have seen some things in my life but nothing prepared me to see two young girls in this kind of disarray.”
A London Fire Brigade spokesman said the firefighters were taken to Queen’s Hospital, Romford, after extinguishing the “ferocious” fire. One suffered a back injury and the other injured his hand.
Mrs Shakir alleges that CCTV footage in the area shows the girls on a “crimewave” and they set fire to another bin at nearby accountants Cresswell Rumsey.
The Shakirs have shut their shop and fear they will not be able to reopen, which may leave their six staff, four of whom have young families, without jobs.
“It’s devastating, we have three young children too and it’s our livelihood,” said Mrs Shakir.
No arrests have been made and anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.