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Update: Ley Street estate owner speaks of ‘shock’ over fire

PUBLISHED: 09:36 09 February 2015 | UPDATED: 10:35 10 February 2015

A police officer stands guard outside the burnt out Gigi Motors in Ley Street, Ilford

A police officer stands guard outside the burnt out Gigi Motors in Ley Street, Ilford

Archant

The owner of an industrial estate which caught alight on Sunday evening has spoken of his “shock” when the news was broken to him.

Michael Everitt learnt from his solicitor on Monday morning 10 fire engines had fought for 75 minutes to tackle the blaze in Ley Street, Ilford.

Three people believed to be living inside Gigi Motors – one of several businesses on the site – received medical help.

Two were treated for smoke inhalation, but one was taken to hospital suffering “life-changing” burns, according to Redbridge Police.

The cause of the fire in Ley Street, which saw the first floor and part of the second floor catch alight, is still under investigation.

A forensic team is on the site. No arrests have been made.

Mr Everitt, of Buckhurst Hill, said: “I was shocked when I discovered what happened on Monday morning.

“Police told me that the site is now a crime scene.”

Mr Everitt revealed the site has been sold to supermarket chain Lidl, which is seeking planning permission to build a store on the site.

The businesses renting the site have until March 9 to vacate.

Mr Everitt admitted he was unaware people had been living on his property until he was told by police.

“Once the police have given me the authority I will board the place up,” he said. “I won’t rent it out again. It is a commercial site – not a residential site.”

Fire fighters were called at just before 10pm and managed to get the blaze under control by 11.14pm.

Watch manager Nigel McCormick, who attended the fire, said: “Although some people had left the building before we arrived, there was reports of a fourth person still trapped inside.

“Visibility was very poor so we used a thermal imaging camera and conducted a fingertip search of the building – but thankfully nobody else was inside.”

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