News | World News | More than 150 people are evacuated as blaze breaks out in Lewisham

More than 150 people are evacuated as blaze breaks out in Lewisham

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  • Fire broke out on 13th floor of 20-storey block in Lewisham, South East London
  • 150 people left the building before firefighters arrived at about 4.15am today 
  • Sprinkler system 'suppressed' fire - but residents claim alarms failed to sound
  • It came on first anniversary of deadly Grenfell Tower blaze in North Kensington

By Mark Duell for MailOnline

Published: 02:32 EDT, 14 June 2018 | Updated: 04:16 EDT, 14 June 2018

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More than 150 people escaped a burning London high-rise this morning after a fire broke out on the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower inferno.

The blaze took hold of the 13th floor in the early hours, forcing residents to flee the 20-storey block of flats in Lewisham, South East London.

However, many complained they had to be woken by neighbours and other residents across the street shouting 'fire, fire' because the alarms didn't sound.

Firefighters said around 150 people had left the building before crews arrived at about 4.15am today - and a sprinkler system 'suppressed' the blaze.

But residents were only woken by shouting from across the road, and started running down the stairs - banging on doors as they descended to wake up others.  

Crews were called to a fire on the 13th floor of the 20-storey block in Lewisham this morning
Crews were called to a fire on the 13th floor of the 20-storey block in Lewisham this morning

Crews were called to a fire on the 13th floor of the 20-storey block in Lewisham this morning

Residents return to their homes today after the fire was put out by London Fire Brigade crews
Residents return to their homes today after the fire was put out by London Fire Brigade crews
Two people walk back into their homes
Two people walk back into their homes

Residents return to their homes today after the fire was put out by London Fire Brigade crews

Residents are pictured returning to their homes following the blaze in South East London
Residents are pictured returning to their homes following the blaze in South East London

Residents are pictured returning to their homes following the blaze in South East London

A man wears a space blanket outside the block
A man wears a space blanket outside the block
Firefighters attended the tower
Firefighters attended the tower

Some residents complained that they had to rely on neighbours to alert them to the danger 

Christoph Mayr, 32, said: 'We're on the top floor and woke up because there was shouting outside, so went out on the balcony, and people in the building opposite were screaming, 'fire, fire'.

'We didn't see anything, but they started waving and pointing and shouted, 'You. It's in your block, get out of the building'.

'We started running down the stairs and banged on doors as we were going down.'

The artist manager, who has lived in the building for three years, said there was smoke on one of the floors. 

'Everyone was pretty shocked there was no alarms,' he said. 'It got more real when we were in the staircase and it was pretty warm.'

Parents were bringing their children inside wrapped in blankets as the last of the residents were allowed back to their homes at around 8am.

London Fire Brigade said around 150 people left the building before firefighters arrived
London Fire Brigade said around 150 people left the building before firefighters arrived

London Fire Brigade said around 150 people left the building before firefighters arrived

Residents of the block of flats in South East London have complained that there was no alarm
Residents of the block of flats in South East London have complained that there was no alarm

Residents of the block of flats in South East London have complained that there was no alarm

The cause of the fire is under investigation, according to the London Fire Brigade
The cause of the fire is under investigation, according to the London Fire Brigade

The cause of the fire is under investigation, according to the London Fire Brigade

London Fire Brigade arrived at about 4.15am and said a sprinkler system 'suppressed' the fire
London Fire Brigade arrived at about 4.15am and said a sprinkler system 'suppressed' the fire

London Fire Brigade arrived at about 4.15am and said a sprinkler system 'suppressed' the fire

Mr Mayr said residents are worried about the building's fire safety, which he had considered in the light of the Grenfell Tower disaster before moving in.

'It's a new building and seemed to have all sorts of precautions, including sprinklers, no cladding... but when the alarms don't go off of course you wonder what else is not working.'

Earlier, Yusif Ali tweeted: 'Fire in Roma Corte building, Lewisham and no fire alarm was set off. Instead get woken up to the sound of people screaming there was a fire. Horrible.' 

Caleb Parker said: 'Not the best way to wake up this morning! But thankful for the firefighters who kept this from spreading this morning, and neighbours who banged on each others door since the fire alarm did not sound. Kudos to the police too for their professionalism.'

And Nick Cheuk added: 'Police just told us that no one has been injured and that the fire was contained to just the one flat.'

Paramedics and police were also at the scene following the fire early this morning
Paramedics and police were also at the scene following the fire early this morning

Paramedics and police were also at the scene following the fire early this morning

Firefighters allow people back into their homes following the fire in Lewisham this morning
Firefighters allow people back into their homes following the fire in Lewisham this morning

Firefighters allow people back into their homes following the fire in Lewisham this morning

Flats in the block, which is called Roma Corte and has a 24-hour concierge service, have sold for up to £500,000 over the past three years since it was built.

Crews from Deptford, New Cross and Lewisham were among the 58 firefighters at the scene, while police and ambulance staff were also present.

Firefighters said they received 16 calls about the blaze, which was under control by 5.23am. The cause of the fire is under investigation, LFB added.

Paramedics and police were also at the scene. Pictures posted by the London Ambulance Service showed a number of emergency vehicles outside the block. 

Firefighters said they received 16 calls about the blaze, which was under control by 5.23am
Firefighters said they received 16 calls about the blaze, which was under control by 5.23am

Firefighters said they received 16 calls about the blaze, which was under control by 5.23am

The A20 was partially closed while emergency crews were at the scene.

Today marks 12 months since a small kitchen fire at Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, West London, took hold of the block - killing 72 people.

A major safety failure at Grenfell was found to be the flammable aluminium and polyethylene cladding installed on the tower's facade during a recent renovation. 

More than 300 towers around Britain have similar combustible cladding. The cladding on three buildings in the Lewisham area failed government fire-safety tests last summer, but Roma Corte was not one of them.

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