LONDON mayor Sadiq Khan was left speechless on Monday (10) after a woman who lives at a block of flats that was engulfed by fire on Sunday (9) blasted him for “not facing the residents” sooner.
Two people were treated for smoke inhalation after 20 flats were destroyed by a violent blaze.
About 18 families were evacuated from their homes and taken to the Thames View Community Centre, about a mile from the scene.
Khan was visiting residents at the community centre when the incident occurred.
The woman accused Khan of parading with the press in the area for “publicity.”
“You come along here with all your press and all your whatever not. How about you go in there and face the residents that you have failed? she questioned.
“Instead of chasing around and banning low emissions, how about you sort out these properties?
“You’re standing here with your press because it is a publicity stunt.
“But not once you have faced those residents. Not one resident have you gone and faced.”
Residents had raised issues about the safety of wooden cladding two years ago, following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
Venilia Amorim, treasurer of the Barking Reach Residents’ Association, said residents were told the wooden cladding was safe. But the speed at which the fire spread has raised questions about safety of the material.
“The wooden cladding is everywhere,” Amorim was quoted as saying. “We have got a lot of residents now not wanting to go back to their homes, not even to the adjacent blocks, because there’s no guarantee that this won’t happen again.”
Bellway Homes, which built the flats, believes the fire may have been caused due to a barbecue on a balcony.
“We understand that the blaze was contained to the external envelope of the eastern elevation of the building, with initial reports suggesting that it was caused by a barbecue on a resident’s balcony,” a Bellway spokesperson was quoted as saying.