Shadwell fire: residents ‘complained to council about overcrowding’

Apartment tenants

Local residents had previously complained about overcrowding (Image: Tarling West Residents Association)

A criminal investigation has been launched after a deadly fire at an apartment was previously “expressed by concerns”.

Father-of-two Mizanur Rahman, 41, died in hospital after fire destroyed property in Shadwell, east London.

London Fire Brigade confirmed around 15 people had evacuated the three-bedroom apartment before emergency services arrived.

The exact cause of the fire is not known at this time, but a fire department spokesman said they believe the fire was caused by “a lithium-ion battery” for an e-bike.

Several residents previously complained to Tower Hamlets Council, saying the flat was overcrowded, the BBC reports.

A man anonymously told the broadcaster that 18 people were sleeping on the floor the night the fire broke out.

“We were all asleep, someone called me and said get up, get up,” he said.

Apartment tenants'had been complaining about overcrowding before the deadly fire' Photo: TARLING WEST RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION

Pictures show multiple bunk beds in each room (Image: Tarling West Residents Association)

“We saw very black smoke… too much smoke, we [couldn’t] see.’

Another resident, Zubayer Khan, backed the claims, saying there were multiple bunk beds per room with only one toilet and bathroom.

He claims that the apartment housed about “18 to 21 people” with “seven to eight people” living in each room.

“Some sleep in the kitchen, some share beds, some sleep on the floor,” he added.

The landlord has denied receiving any complaints and says he was unaware that 18 people lived in the apartment, which he allegedly rented out to three people.

Tower Hamlets Council said it was responding to complaints from residents about the block’s overcrowding.

A spokesman told “Illegal sub-letting of properties is abhorrent and dangerous because the welfare of tenants is being put at risk for financial gain.

“We address complaints of illegal occupation and subletting by visiting properties and taking enforcement action where appropriate.”

The spokesman confirmed that following a site visit, the council had ordered an “enforcement” and a criminal investigation under the Housing Act was now underway.

“It is shocking that Mizanur Rahman has lost his life and our thoughts are with his family and friends,” they added.

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Justin Scaccy

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