Ilford family targeted by scrap metal dealer two hours after house fire

A family clearing up hours after a fire devastated their home, were stunned when a man asked for their destroyed belongings so he could sell them as scrap metal.

Sugi Sritharan, 50, was in the kitchen of her home in Canterbury Avenue, Ilford, when the electric radiator in her hallway exploded into a huge ball of flame at about 8.20am on Monday.

The fire engulfed the hallway and thick black smoke filled the house as she ran out of the back door and into the street to get help.

The hallway and front door were burned and the rest of the house suffered smoke damage.

But within two hours a man approached the house to ask if he could take any of the charred remains to sell on as scrap metal.

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Mrs Sritharan’s husband Sinniah, 55, said: “He asked if he could take the burnt radiator. It’s horrible. I slept here last night as they may have known that no one would be in the house and come back and rob it. Then there would be more damage.”

Four fire engines attended as flames came out the front door and reached the second floor.

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Mrs Sritharan said: “I went to go upstairs and the radiator exploded in front of me, I have never seen anything like that. The whole room was filled with smoke.”

After she ran into the street to get help, a neighbour called the fire brigade.

The incident has left the couple worried about the safety of the electric and oil radiator. Mr Sritharan said: “How can they sell products like that? Nothing is safe. All our clothes are black and we have nothing to wear, it’s all gone. The fumes got everywhere. It’s a life experience.”

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