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The fire in a block of flats near Grenfell Tower was started by charging the e-bike battery

Liiban Shakat, 38, described his panic when a fire broke out in his guest room this morning (Image: PA)

A resident of a high-rise said a fire was started by charging an electric bike battery at his home this morning.

Liiban Shakat, 38, thought he was “dying” after his friend Abid Naser Mohamed woke him and led him to the guest room, which was on fire.

His friend was eventually taken to hospital for smoke inhalation after the fire broke out in Shepherd’s Bush, west London, around 9am.

Around 60 firefighters and two ambulances were rushed to Queensdale Crescent, less than a mile from Grenfell Tower – where a fire in 2017 killed 72 people.

Liiban told how his friend, who had been living with him for several days, started charging an e-bike battery in the apartment when it started smoking in the socket.

When it was unplugged, it sparked and the area around it was lit, he added.

The scorched windows of Liiban’s home in the Stebbing House apartments were clearly visible.

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Burn marks can be seen on the 12th floor of a high rise building at Stebbing House on Queensdale Crescent, Shepherds Bush, London. At least one resident suffered smoke inhalation as firefighters struggled to put out the blaze. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2022. See PA story FIRE ShepherdsBush. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

The fire broke out on the 12th floor of the Shepherds Bush apartment building (Image: PA).

Liiban, his friend, was speaking to reporters outside the building and was still wearing his macaws – traditional Somali pajamas – and was lying in bed when the fire broke out.

He said Abid’s mouth was “black from inhaling so much smoke”. Liiban was half awake when confronted with the fire.

He rushed to pour a bucket of water over the burning debris, but this made the fire worse.

“I was in shock,” he said. “I didn’t know what to do,” he added.

Liiban then ran to try to escape the building and alerted his neighbors by knocking on nearby doors on the 12th floor.

At least 30 residents fled the building when billows of black smoke billowed from windows.

“Something came out of the bike, smoke, so he pulled the plug. Now the debris, the plastic, the fire has taken over the whole place, the windows the bed,” said Liiban, who has lived in the building for 20 years.

Liiban Shakat, resident of the flat where the fire broke out on the 12th floor of Stebbing House on Queensdale Crescent, Shepherds Bush, London. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2022. See PA story FIRE ShepherdsBush. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Liiban says he thought he was going to die today and had flashbacks to the Grenfell Tower disaster (Image: PA)

Fire brigade in front of high rise building at Stebbing House on Queensdale Crescent, Shepherd's Bush, London. At least one resident suffered smoke inhalation as firefighters struggled to put out the blaze. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2022. See PA story FIRE ShepherdsBush. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

A lack of combustible casing helped contain this morning’s fire (Image: PA)

He claimed that despite the size of the fire, no fire alarms were set off and no water sprinklers were activated.

But Jonathan Stone, a security manager at Hammersmith and Fulham Council, which owns and operates the building, said the precautionary measures taken by local authorities had “prevented another Grenfell”.

Around 90 minutes after the first emergency call, the emergency services managed to bring the fire under control.

Both Mr Stone and Labor Council leader Stephen Cowan, who were at the scene after the fire, said they had been informed the fire alarms had gone off as expected.

The council has a system called Fire Safety Plus, which has taken steps including installing fire doors to help residents stay safe.

Scene on the 12th floor of a tower block at Stebbing House on Queensdale Crescent, Shepherds Bush, London after a fire broke out. At least one resident suffered smoke inhalation as firefighters struggled to put out the blaze. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2022. See PA story FIRE ShepherdsBush. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

The 12th floor scene after the fire at Stebbing House this morning (Image: PA)

Fire brigade in front of high rise building at Stebbing House on Queensdale Crescent, Shepherd's Bush, London. At least one resident suffered smoke inhalation as firefighters struggled to put out the blaze. Picture date: Tuesday June 21, 2022. See PA story FIRE ShepherdsBush. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Around 60 firefighters were rushed to the scene who spent 90 minutes battling the blaze (Image: PA)

Mr Cowan said the fire was put out so quickly partly because of the lack of a combustible casing – a key difference from the Grenfell Tower disaster.

He said residents could understandably be “in shock” after the ordeal and that reports of fire alarms not going off were considered inaccurate.

Labor MP for Hammersmith Andy Slaughter said he understood the fire was “of great importance” and said a full report would be made to formally establish the cause.

“Any fire, particularly in high-rise buildings, will be of great concern to residents and they need reassurance that all safety measures have been taken,” he said.

Liiban said today’s fire brought back memories of watching Grenfell Tower burst into flames from his home.

“I thought I was going to die today,” he added.

Just a few hours after the Shepherd’s Bush fire, another high-rise fire broke out in the east of the capital.

Around 100 firefighters rushed to the tower block in Manor Park as huge plumes of smoke filled the air.

The fire was brought under control in about two hours and it is still not clear what started it.

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/21/fire-at-block-of-flats-near-grenfell-tower-started-by-charging-e-bike-battery-16868746/ The fire in a block of flats near Grenfell Tower was started by charging the e-bike battery

Justin Scacco

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