Mother rescued children from Barking fire that killed boy, 11, by dropping them from window, says neighbour
Two children escaped a devastating flat fire that claimed the life of a child in east London by being dropped to safety from a third-floor window, a neighbour has said.
An 11-year-old boy died when the blaze tore through a three-bedroom property at a block of flats in Barking shortly before 3.30am on Tuesday.
But neighbour Gediminas Radzevicius has told how two other children’s lives were saved when their mother lowered them from an upper-floor window.
Painter and decorator Mr Radzevicius, 39, was awoken in the early hours by a fire alarm sounding, and knocked on neighbours’ doors to raise the alarm until the smoke became overwhelming, he told ITV.
As he stood outside with his family, his wife reportedly spotted a woman at an upstairs window, attempting to lower her children to safety.
“When she saw that I tried to catch them she started to drop them,” Mr Radzevicius told ITV.
He caught both children that were dropped down, before two women also jumped from the window.
Another child - a boy aged 11 - was sadly pronounced dead at the scene. His next of his have been informed.
London Fire Brigade (LFB) said two adults and two children escaped the flat before firefighters arrived on the scene in residential Stern Close at roughly 3.25am on Tuesday.
They were all taken to hospital, while another man was treated at the scene by paramedics.
Six fire engines were scrambled to the property, along with an air ambulance, road ambulances and police.
Around 40 firefighters spent almost two hours tackling the blaze, which was finally extinguished by 5.20am, having destroyed the three-bedroom flat.
Barking and Dagenham Council leader Darren Rodwell said a total of nine properties were affected.
The cause of the fire is being investigated by LFB and police, but a Scotland Yard spokesperson said it “does not appear to be suspicious”.
None of the people taken to hospital were in a life-threatening condition, police confirmed.
In the early hours of this morning there was a fire in Stern Close, Barking. A number of residents were admitted to hospital, and very sadly we have been informed that tragically one resident lost their life. My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this very difficult time
— Cllr Darren Rodwell (@CllrDRodwell) March 7, 2023
Cllr Rodwell said in a statement: “We are saddened by the events that took place in the early hours of Tuesday morning and our hearts go out to everyone affected. We’re aware that some residents have lost everything including their homes and possessions.
“We would like to thank members of the London Fire Brigade, other emergency services and council staff for their support in very difficult circumstances.
“Nine properties have been affected by the fire, affecting a number of families. As a council, we have a duty of care to our residents and have supported a number of people, providing accommodation where it is needed and are providing ongoing help to the families in a number of ways.
“Sadly, we have since been informed that a resident tragically lost their life in the fire. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family as they try to process what has happened.
“London Fire Brigade have not yet confirmed the exact cause of the fire. While we await the outcome of the findings from their investigation, we will be continuing to support our residents with their needs including accommodation and emotional support.”