Fire crews tackle ‘out of control’ bonfire at homeless camp in East Ham
- Credit: Archant
A fire broke out at a homeless camp beside the North Circular Road in East Ham causing billowing plumes of black smoke.
Firefighters ducked through chain-link fences and pushed back branches to reach the site, situated in a wooded area at the corner of Burges Road and Barking Road following reports of an out of control bonfire received shortly after 11am.
The fire, metres away from several terraced houses, burned a large part of the camp and surrounding trees, though no injuries were reported, said attending Sgt Perman of Met Police.
Mark Clarke, of nearby Melbourne Road, told the Recorder his family had looked after several horses on Miers Close Wildlife Area beside the camp for about three decades.
The 33-year-old said he had rushed towards the smoke after hearing a “loud bang”.
You may also want to watch:
“I must have been gas or an aerosol bottle,” he said, adding he had not been aware of the shelters.
His father, however, had dealt with a previous rough sleeper some years ago.
- 1 Marvel movie blockbuster Black Widow filmed in Dagenham
- 2 Dagenham mum vows more acts of crochet kindness despite missing postbox toppers
- 3 New developments approved in Barking and Dagenham so far this year
- 4 Barking father's car stolen from driveway
- 5 Man in hospital after being found with facial injuries in Dagenham
- 6 Watchdog upholds 90pc of complaints against council, figures show
- 7 Barking and Dagenham and Redbridge 'least active' boroughs in London, study finds
- 8 Dagenham pastry chef wins patisserie award
- 9 Dagenham man sentenced after flying kick at cop during Black Lives Matter demo
- 10 Letter: Climate change and the floods
“We tried legally to get him out but we couldn’t do it because we weren’t the official owners of the land,” he went on.
No information was available on what sparked the fire.
London Fire Brigade sent one crew from Barking station to the scene, who were damping down flames within half an hour.
While crews hosed down the remaining embers, the charred frame of a baby stroller stood among the wreckage.
There were signs children had been present. A pink push bike could be spotted beside an overturned shopping trolley. Elsewhere, an inflatable ball lay next to a brazier.
Enough equipment existed to support several people. Lager cans and water bottles littered the undergrowth, beside plastic chairs, tent equipment and dumbbells.
A bag of toiletries hung from a branch, clothes dried on a washing line and makeshift shelves had been set up in a tree fork.
Eyewitnesses suggest rough sleepers seek work at an industrial estate close by, waiting for shifts at construction sites or other manual work.
Several men approached at the estate declined to comment.