Calls to remove Dagenham 5G mast after blaze
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Calls have been made to move a 5G mast away from people's homes after it was damaged in a fire.
Half the telecommunications mast in Becontree Avenue, Dagenham, was hit by the blaze on Tuesday, March 2.
Ten firefighters from Dagenham fire station fought the flames after being called at 11.16pm.
Claire Barker, who lives opposite the mast, described hearing a loud bang before neighbours hammered on the front door to alert her.
She said: "Within 10 minutes the top was alight, causing panic as debris was burning and pouring out the top.
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"This mindless act put all the residents at risk, as well as those trying to put it out."
She described seeing children shaking with fear.
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The Met is carrying out an investigation. Work on the mast was nearly finished when the fire struck.
Neighbours have contacted Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge and the council to raise concerns about the location of the mast.
Dame Margaret has called on Robert Finnegan - the chief executive of telecommunications company Three which had the mast installed - to consider moving it.
The letter states: "Given the fire and the danger this has brought to my constituents, I urge you again to reconsider placing this mast here".
A spokesperson for Three said it plans to rebuild at the same spot, adding CCTV for extra security.
"Our number one priority is to secure the site and ensure the public is not at risk of serious injury from falling debris.
"While we try to keep mast sites as unobtrusive as possible, they need to be situated near where people will be using the service and, in many cases, in precise locations to ensure the widest breadth of coverage," she said.
Three maintains it went through the proper legal process to get permission for the mast and there are no alternative places that will result in better connectivity.
The spokesperson added access to 4G and 5G services plays a vital role in boosting local economies and promotes reliable coverage.
"These attacks cannot continue to happen," she said.
A Met spokesperson said there have been no arrests and appealed for anyone with information to call police on 101.
To remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.