Blaze engulfs several floors of tower block near Canary Wharf

·4 min read

More than 100 firefighters have tackled a blaze that ripped through a 19-storey London tower covered in flammable cladding.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) was called to the New Providence Wharf development, near Canary Wharf, on Friday morning.

It said 125 firefighters and 20 engines were at the scene of the fire, which engulfed three floors.

London Ambulance Service said a “number of people” have been treated, though the extent of their injuries is not yet known.

Approximately 22% of the building’s facade features ACM PE cladding panels, which were found to be a key factor in the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.

Work to replace the cladding was “under way” and the main contractor had been due to take possession of the site on Monday, according to building developer Ballymore.

One resident said on Instagram: “When your building has the same cladding as Grenfell Tower. Oh my god.”

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Pictures and videos on social media showed part of the building engulfed in flames, with thick grey smoke pouring out of the block.

The fire comes just days after the Government’s post-Grenfell fire safety regulations, which campaigners argue could leave leaseholders paying tens of thousands of pounds to remove cladding on their buildings.

The LFB said earlier: “Firefighters are tackling a blaze at a 19-storey block. Parts of the eighth, ninth and 10th floors are alight.

“The brigade’s 999 control officers have taken 13 calls to the fire.

“The brigade was called at 0855. Fire crews from Poplar, Millwall, Shadwell, Plaistow, Whitechapel and surrounding fire stations are at the scene.

“The cause of the fire is not known at this stage.”

Canary Wharf fire
New Providence Wharf where more than 100 firefighters are tackling a blaze (Victoria Jones/PA)

The ambulance service said it had sent a “number of resources” to the scene.

A spokesman said: “They have treated a number of people, and remain at the scene, where they are working with other emergency services.”

Apsana Begum, the Poplar & Limehouse Labour MP, said on Twitter: “@LFBTowerHamlets are working to tackle a fire at New Providence Wharf.

“I met constituents here again recently – left unsafe for 2yrs+ without reports, surveys.

“Meanwhile developer Ballymore continue to build & profit in £ms.”

Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, tweeted: “My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this awful fire – and with all those for whom it stirs memories and fears.

“It is simply a national scandal that more has not been done by government to remove this dangerous cladding.”

Ballymore said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this morning’s fire at New Providence Wharf.

“The safety of our residents is paramount and we are working closely with the London Fire Brigade.

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“We can confirm that the fire was quickly brought under control by the Fire Brigade and is now extinguished. Our response team are on-site to support residents and assist with alternative accommodation where necessary.

“We will update once we have more information.”

Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said: “It is extremely alarming to see another high-rise building in the heart of London light up in flames.

“A huge thank you to the firefighters who responded and got the fire under control so quickly and our thoughts are with all of those affected.

“It should shame this Government that four years on from Grenfell there are people across the country living in buildings wrapped in flammable cladding.

“Time and time again we’ve warned that another Grenfell could be just around the corner unless they prioritise making people’s homes safe.

“The pace of removing flammable cladding has been glacial and it’s putting people’s lives at risk. The Government must intervene and take quick and decisive action to end our building safety crisis once and for all.”

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