Copper thieves cause fire in Rainham flats

Copper thieves have been blamed for hundreds of pounds worth of damage after a blaze in a block of flats at the Orchard Village estate

Firefighters from Wennington Fire Station were called to the estate in Lowen Road, Rainham, at around 6pm on Saturday.

The blaze started in a small electrical cupboard in the flats, caused by a flood when thieves ripped out copper pipes.

Crews were able to bring the fire under control.

“The fire was caused by the water running throughout the first floor which caused an electrical intake cable to fuse out,” a spokesman for the London Fire Brigade said:


“They were lucky because it was a relatively small fire but things could have been worse especially because there were a few families still living in the flats.”

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The 26-block flat is due to be knocked down in the next few months as part of the regeneration of the estate.

Four families still living in the flat were left without any electricity for a number of hours following the incident.

Residents living in the Lower Mardyke Avenue were also without any power until 8.30pm.

The damage to the flat is expected to run into hundreds of pounds.

June Morton managing director of Old Ford Housing Association, which runs the estate, said: “Our neighbourhood officers visited residents immediately after the fire and quickly established that no one was hurt.

“Their damage assessment found that empty flats were most significantly affected however power supplies to a handful of residents’ homes were briefly cut so they stayed to offer help and reassurance until this was resolved.

“Old Ford Housing Association does not tolerate theft and criminal damage in Orchard Village and is working with the police to investigate this incident.”