Eyewitness: Windows "exploded" out of banqueting suite (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Windows "exploded" in fire at The Pavillion banqueting suite in Walthamstow, says neighbour.
A man has described how he saw fire which ripped through a banqueting suite specialising in Asian weddings "exploding out of the windows" of the building.
Ten fire engines and 72 firefighters were needed to fight the blaze at The Pavillion in Hoe Street, Walthamstow, in the early hours of this morning.
A man living nearby to The Pavillion, on the corner of Hoe Street and Albert Road, who did not want to be named, was disturbed by the commotion and saw the whole thing.
The 33-year-old said: "“It was very bad. I could see the staff running around.
"I could smell burning but I couldn’t see it.”
“Then all of a sudden at the back entrance of The Pavillion, the fire started gushing out of the side windows.
“By the time the fire service got there, it was starting to explode out of the windows.
“Then there was just one fire engine and it looked really bad.”
Half of the first floor and most of the roof was alight when firefighters arrived at the scene at 1.15am.
The cause of the fire is not yet known and is currently under investigation.
Police closed Hoe Street for several hours and evacuated around 20 people from the surrounding houses due to the amount of smoke generated by the fire.
All residents have now returned to their homes.
Thye witness said he warned firefighters that he believed the blaze started underneath the kitchen and that drums of oil stored there could explode.
“When I saw it at its peak it did make me worry," he said.
Station manager Clive Robinson, who was at the scene, said: “The fire has severely damaged the two-storey banqueting hall.
"Firefighters have managed to stop the fire from spreading to surrounding buildings."
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