Fire reveals suspected breach of flats ban following previous blaze (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Fire reveals suspected breach of flats ban following previous blaze
A fire which destroyed a new chicken shop this morning has led to the discovery of suspected breaches of an order banning the residential use of upstairs flats.
Following an inspection at the scene today, fire officials say they saw evidence of people living in the properties in Wood Street, Walthamstow.
According to the Fire Brigade, the owner was issued with a prohibition order last year after a major fire in the building, during which nine people were rescued and a further 14 forced to flee for their lives.
The flats, opposite Vallentin Road, were then found to have breached fire safety regulations and the owner is due to appear in court shortly.
Paul Szemerej, senior fire safety officer and Stoke Newington station manager, said: “There appear to have been numerous contraventions of the prohibition order.
“We arrived just in time, the fire had just reached the rooms above the shop but it was contained to the kitchen area.”
The blaze in Wood Street Grill & Chicken began after a deep fat fryer was left on overnight, firefighters believe.
It is not known if the owner of the chicken shop also owns the flats.
Four fire engines and 21 firefighters and officers took just under an hour and a half to put the blaze out after being called at 8am.
Zahir Khan, 38, the chicken shop owner’s cousin, said: “It’s really badly damaged. It’s finished.
“This was a brand new shop four months ago. He’s going to have to refurbish everything now.”
The owner is on holiday in Pakistan, he added.
There were no injuries.
Gary Butcher, 43, who works at Travis Perkins next door, said: “If the fire brigade hadn’t got here when they did it could’ve been a lot worse, with oil in there.”