Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has been accused of “not facing the residents” sooner by a woman who lives at a block of flats that was engulfed by fire on Sunday 9th June in Barking where twenty flats were destroyed and another ten had been destroyed.
Two people were treated for smoke inhalation and about 18 families were evacuated from their homes and taken to the Thames View Community Centre, about a mile from the scene. Khan was visiting residents at the community centre when the incident occurred. The woman accused Khan of parading with the press in the area for "publicity."
“You come along here with all your press and all your whatever not. How about you go in there and face the residents that you have failed?”
“Instead of chasing around and banning low emissions, how about you sort out these properties?
“You’re standing here with your press because it is a publicity stunt.
“But not once you have faced those residents. Not one resident have you gone and faced," she said.
Residents had raised issues about the safety of wooden cladding two years ago, following the tragedy at the Grenfell Tower.
Venilia Amorim, treasurer of the Barking Reach Residents’ Association, said residents were told the wooden cladding was safe. But the speed at which the fire spread has raised questions about safety of the material.
About 100 firefighters worked for more than two hours to subdue the fire, which was extinguished at 18:00. The cause is being investigated. However, Bellway Homes, which built the flats, believes the fire may have been caused due to a barbecue on a balcony.