Erith fire: trapped man hanging out of the window

PUBLISHED: 17:03 19 September 2011 | UPDATED: 17:41 19 September 2011

Not all the residents were evacuated from the flats after half the 14th floor was ablaze on Sunday

Not all the residents were evacuated from the flats after half the 14th floor was ablaze on Sunday


Residents on the 13th floor of a tower block described how they woke up to billowing smoke and the banging of trapped neighbours on the floor above.

The whole of the corridor of the 14th floor of Cambria House in Larner Road, Erith, has been left blackened from smoke damage with a lingering burning stench, forcing residents into temporary accommodation.

Half of the floor was ablaze on Sunday morning at approximately 07.53am. Eight people had to be rescued by firefighters wearing breathing apparatus and nine residents were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

Vanessa Perry, 24, who lives on the 13th floor was woken up by banging coming from the flat above. When she looked out of her bedroom window, she saw a man hanging from the flat above, with a piece of cloth covering his face.

She said: “When I looked out of the window I could see the fire brigade and when I looked above I could see smoke coming out of the window above. The young man above had a cloth over his face and was leaning out of the window saying ‘I need to get out’.”

William Davis, 80, who also lives on the 13th floor, said: “I was shocked to see how badly damaged upstairs is. I woke up at 7.30am and put the television to have a look at Ceefax. I heard noises but that is nothing new. But then I thought it was rather early, so I looked outside my window and saw there was a fire engine. I went down at about 10.30am and a police man asked if I had only just got up and I said I had been up all morning. The only person to knock on our doors was a fireman to ask how many people lived in the flat and if any were missing.”

Approximately 40 fire fighters attended the blaze and managed to get it under control by 9.50am. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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