Harold Hill man runs into flats to warn residents of fire at back of the building
PUBLISHED: 15:38 23 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:47 24 August 2019
A 31-year-old man who helped to get families to safety when he saw flames coming from the back of a block of flats says "anyone would have done it".
Lee Walters, from Harold Hill, had just left his partner's home to take her dog out for a walk when he spotted smoke at Hesingdon House, Dagnam Park Drive, yesterday, Thursday, August 22, at around 5.20pm.
"I saw the smoke coming from the back of the flats and called out to my partner to come downstairs and grab the dog", he said.
"The main door was open so I went inside to make sure everyone was alright.
"It was an instant reaction to go in, anyone would have done it.
"My partner is pregnant with twins due in December and I know there's a family with five children that live near the back so I don't know, dad mode kind of kicked in I guess!"
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As the flames started to grow higher and the smoke thicker, Lee rushed into the building and started knocking on doors, shouting in the hallways, warning people to get out.
Another man then came in to help, trying to get residents' attention and kicking down doors to make sure everyone was safe and check if anyone needed assistance in evacuating.
Many of the residents who live in the building are either families with young children or pensioners.
Both of the men helped to get everyone out before fire crews from Wennington and Dagenham arrived to put out the flames after they received 22 calls to the incident.
The fire was caused by a shed being set alight and was quickly under control at around 5.35pm thanks to "the quick work" of the firefighters.
Lee said: "When I first got out of there, I was a bit shaken up for a few minutes.
"One of the firefighters was trying to speak to me but I couldn't really hear anything he was saying.
"I was completely fine after a bit and my mum was proud but said she should slap me into next week for being so stupid!"