Wennington fire: Government support sought as council continues to work with residents

The scene after a blaze in the village of Wennington, after temperatures topped 40C in the UK for the first time ever

The scene after a blaze in the village of Wennington, after temperatures topped 40C in the UK for the first time ever - Credit: PA

Two weeks on since the devastating fire in Wennington, work remains ongoing to find accommodation for those most affected. 

The blaze ripped through the Rainham village on July 21, a day when record-breaking temperatures were reported from across the UK.

The London Fire Brigade later said it was its busiest day since World War Two, as it recorded a total of 1,146 incidents across the city. 

One Wennington resident, Tony Horne, 36, told the Recorder “it was like something out of a film". 

"Neighbours were running, people were crying with their belongings on their shoulders, the police were shouting 'get out, you have 15 minutes'. 

“Honestly, it was chaos. I’ve never seen anything like it.” 

Luckily, Tony’s home escaped too much damage, but he added: "I've got a lot of neighbours down there and they've lost everything, so we're one of the lucky ones."   

Wennington resident Tony Horne said he was lucky that his home was not one of those completely destroyed in the blaze

Wennington resident Tony Horne said he was lucky that his home was not one of those completely destroyed in the blaze - Credit: Ben Lynch

With a total of 19 properties fully destroyed, Havering Council said it is exploring a range of options as it continues to support those most affected. 

Cllr Ray Morgon, leader of Havering Council, said these include finding alternative accommodation for people who have lost their homes and helping residents who have no or limited insurance. 

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“For those residents whose properties were destroyed, the removal of these structures is a complex picture, involving in the first instance, insurance companies,” said Cllr Morgon. 

“We know it will take many months and indeed years to support the recovery of Wennington Village and its community. We are writing to the government to discuss how they can help too.” 

Some residents were initially allowed to return to their homes on foot a few days after the fire broke out, as long as they had been told it was safe to do so. 

Residents return to their properties in the village of Wennington, which went up in flames on Tuesda

Wennington residents returning to their homes - Credit: PA

Initial support from the council included setting up a rest centre in Hornchurch, where residents were offered housing and financial aid, with mental health services and educational therapists also available. 

For those still looking to help, Cllr Morgon reiterated that the fundraiser set up by the Salvation Army is still taking financial donations.  

To donate, visit https://www.havering.gov.uk/news/article/1132/the_salvation_army_launches_justgiving_fund_for_wennington_fire