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Rainham residents flee their homes after balcony catches fire at Orchard Village

PUBLISHED: 10:19 31 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:31 31 January 2018

Four fire engines from Dagenham, Wennington and Barking were called to Orchard Village last night.

Four fire engines from Dagenham, Wennington and Barking were called to Orchard Village last night.

Archant

Residents were forced out of their homes when a balcony in a block flats in Rainham caught fire.

Four fire engines were called to reports of a fire at Orchard Village, Broadis Way at 9.05pm on Tuesday, January 30.

A resident of Orchard Village, aged 35, lives on the ground floor of the flats and was present at the scene.

He told the Recorder: “People on the balcony said they could smell smoke, and I could hear lots of commotion going on outside. I went to look out the window, and that’s when I saw the flames.

“I have been in the army and had fire training, so my first instinct was to get my four kids out of the building.

“If the fire had kept burning for another couple minutes, the top floor of Orchard Village would be gone.”

Some of the residents believe the fire was caused by a tumble dryer on the balcony of the fifth floor.

“We clearly all pulled together and were very lucky that no one was hurt,” the resident added.

A spokeswoman from the London Fire Brigade said: “80pc of the balcony of a flat on the fifth floor was damaged by the fire.

“One man left the property by the time of the arrival of the fire brigade. He was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and he wasn’t taken to hospital.

“The fire was under control by 9.46pm.”

Joseph Cooper lives in the building opposite Orchard Village. He said: “I was concerned for an elderly man who lives on the same floor, so I went into the building.

“I saw the balcony on fire and that the resident was throwing water over the fire, and had just put it out as the firemen were coming up the stairs.

“I have no doubt that the fire would have been more severe if the fire wasn’t put out by the resident.”

MP for Dagenham and Rainham, Jon Cruddas said: “I commend the firefighters that attended the scene at Orchard Village last night, and am thankful that there were no serious injuries as a result of the fire.

“This incident, however minor, should act as a wakeup call for Clarion Housing and Havering Council.

“Orchard Village is a national example of how not to deliver new homes.

“When we consider the level of development Havering Council has planned, unless lessons are learned from this estate I fear the results could be disastrous across Havering, leaving many homes unfit for human habitation.”

A Clarion Housing spokesman said: “There was a fire in one of the blocks at Orchard Village which was caused by white goods which had been stored outside on a balcony, running on electricity and exposed to rain.

“Fortunately the fire was brought under control very quickly and nobody was harmed. We will also be reissuing fire safety advice and undertaking balcony inspection.”

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