UK heatwave: Waking nightmare for Dagenham after homes burn on Britain's hottest day

·1-min read

It was hard to believe that you were standing in residential east London and not a bombed-out suburb in eastern Ukraine.

The devastation wrought by the fires in Dagenham yesterday has to be seen to be believed.

We picked our way through the twisted skeletons of burnt-out cars, over ground carpeted with ash, much of it still smoking and hot to the touch.

Several homes were completely gutted by flames, their charred doors and windows gaping into the street beyond.

Warped rafters open to the sky.

Thunderstorm alert for parts of UK today - heatwave latest

Dozens of families have been evacuated. Many have lost everything.

Makeshift shelters have been set up, with Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club becoming a hub of activity.

Food, medical assistance, social workers, and counselling services are all on offer to displaced families.

One woman broke down as she described to us the trauma of fleeing the flames, and trying to rescue her dogs from the inferno.

Slowly, some people are being allowed back to their homes, as the fire brigade declare their neighbourhoods safe, piece by piece.

They are the lucky ones.

Others have nowhere to go, and no immediate prospect of an end to their waking nightmare.

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