Five people had to be rescued from a fire by replacement contingency crews in a block of Tower Hamlets flats this morning.
The three adults and two children were trapped in a flat in Bromley-by-Bow during a two-hour Fire Brigades Union (FBU) strike that was staged across England and Wales.
Contingency crews assigned to replace the fire brigade during the strike arrived at the scene to find thick black smoke billowing from the flat stairwell.
Three additional people at the fire escaped before the crews arrived. London Ambulance Service crews treated all eight victims for smoke inhalation.
According to the London Fire Brigade, the emergency service was called to the fire at 6:30am, the incident being resolved by 07:04am.
London Fire Commissioner Rob Dobson said: “I’d like to thank the contingency crews for the professional way in which they attended the small number of incidents we had in London. I’d also like to thank control officers for how they handled calls and especially for reassuring residents at a flat fire in Bromley-by-Bow.
Today’s strike, which lasted from 6am to 8am, was the third in a series of FBU strikes over fire fighter pensions.
Fire Minister Brandon Lewis withdrew his last offer regarding fairer changes to pensions and retirement age hours before the most recent strike on Friday evening.
The FBU has provided a pension regulations draft, but the government has so far refused to consider it.
After today’s strike, the Fire Brigades Union general secretary, Matt Wrack, said that the FBU had made it easy for the government to consider a new proposal by “providing the necessary wording” in the pensions regulation draft.
Wrack said: “The next step forward for pension negotiations is simple and achievable. If the government is serious about firefighters being protected from being sacked without access to their pensions as it claims to be, why won’t it draft the pension regulations accordingly?”
Read ELL’s report of previous FBU strikes.