UPDATE - Three escaped Ilford fire through ‘sheer luck’

An Ilford firefighter says three people escaped a shop blaze last night through “sheer luck”.

Around 20 firefighters in total from Ilford and Barking were called to a blaze at a shop undergoing a refurbishment in Green Lane, Ilford, at 9.46pm.

Three people had already evacuated two flats above but only because one of them smelt the fire. No smoke alarms were fitted in the property.

Watch manager Pat Hegarty, who was in charge of the incident, said: “There were no smoke alarms inside the building so it was just sheer luck that one of them smelt the smoke and alerted the other residents who were all able to escape.

“Smoke alarms save lives as they give you an early warning if a fire breaks out in your home.

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“My advice to local people is to fit a smoke alarm on each level of your home and to test them regularly.”

The fire, which is believed to have started in the first floor shop, was brought under control by 11pm.

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It was contained from spreading from a kitchen and around half of the first floor was damaged.

There was smoke damage to the second floor flats.

Ilford crew manager Phil Jones said alterations to the building made it awkward to initially locate the fire.

The firefighters fitted smoke alarms before the residents were allowed back inside.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

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