A man living nearby a pub which was ravaged by fire has told of his evacuation and the "horrendous" smoke coming from the building.

John Taylor, 54, a former police worker, told this paper that officers knocked on his door just after midnight today (March 20) to evacuate due to the smoke coming from the Ship and Anchor pub in Wood Lane.

Barking and Dagenham Post: Huge amount of smoke was seen erupting from the pub after the blazeHuge amount of smoke was seen erupting from the pub after the blaze (Image: John Taylor)Eight houses on his street were evacuated, he said, with about 12 to 15 people stood outside for around two-and-a-half hours until the fire was put out.

John added: “The smoke was actually very horrendous, and obviously smoke kills people more than the fire, so they literally got us out."

Read More: Wood Lane, Dagenham pub fire: Fire brigade at the scene

He claimed to have seen some “suspicious activities” going on around the pub for a few days.

Barking and Dagenham Post: The aftermath of the fireThe aftermath of the fire (Image: George McCloud)

“We’ve had groups of men hanging about outside along the side of the pub late at night and they were acting very oddly.

“Also, normally all the doors and windows are shut at the pub but my wife when she went to work yesterday said that all of them were open which is again something very odd and unusual”, he said.

The Met Police have given no indication they are investigating the fire as being suspicious but confirmed their attendance at the scene in a statement.

A spokesperson said they were called to assist the fire brigade and no-one was at the premises at the time of the fire. No injuries have been reported.

Barking and Dagenham Post: Firefighters worked all the way through the night to dampen the last few hot spotsFirefighters worked all the way through the night to dampen the last few hot spots (Image: London Fire Brigade)

He said there have been at least two other fires in the last two years which were caught by the fire brigade at their early stages so did not have a big impact.

Road closures were in place on Wood Lane after the blaze but have since reopened.

London Fire Brigade said the whole roof of the pub has been destroyed by the fire and it is investigating the cause of the blaze.

Barking and Dagenham Post: The pub was taped off after the blazeThe pub was taped off after the blaze (Image: Naomi Heslam)

Firefighters carried out a search of the property and remained on scene throughout the night damping down remaining hot spots.   

The fire was under control by 3.15am and 40 firefighters attended the incident.