Ilford guesthouse owner ‘angry’ after cigarette causes fire

A hotel owner who watched his guest house in flames, as a family including a baby was rescued, has spoken of his anger after it was discovered the blaze was caused by a cigarette.

Naser Khan has owned the Ferndale guest house in Mansfield Road, Ilford, for 30 years, and watched helplessly as the upstairs of the building became engulfed in flames at 12.30am on Saturday night.

There were dramatic scenes as firefighters raced to rescue a baby girl who was passed through the window, as a family of four were trapped in the blaze.

Mr Khan said: “I was downstairs and made an easy escape, but I was shocked and devastated as I watched the family escaping through the window.

“This has turned into �anger now I have discovered the fire was caused by something so careless.”

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He hopes to have the hotel, which has been left gutted upstairs, open in several months time.

“This baby could have died,” he added.

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“I don’t know what �happened. I haven’t heard from the man who was staying in that room since he was taken away in an ambulance that night.”

Thirty firefighters tackled the blaze, which took two-and-a-half hours to get under control.

One firefighter said: “One man, carrying a baby, climbed out of a window and on to a flat roof at the back.

“He had to pass the child to a firefighter and then we went up and got him with a ladder.

“The place was well alight, and the roof too.

“We had a register of �people supposed to be in the building and there were �people we couldn’t find so it all took a while.”

Poplar station manager Richard Welch said: “Cigarettes are a very common cause of fires so we would urge people to make sure that their cigarettes are completely out.”

He that added a preliminary investigation showed the blaze was caused by a cigarette, but a formal investigation was underway into the cause.

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