The man who helped save a burning victim from a van on Mare Street on Sunday afternoon says he has struggled to sleep since the incident.
“I couldn’t sleep the last two days. When I close my eyes I see him”, Ali Kale told Eastlondonlines. Kale, who works as a chef at Tad Bistro, opposite the incident, was one of the first on the scene. The man, who Kale has named as Romanian-born Constantin Huber, was burnt “everywhere”, he said.
The fire is thought to have been started by an “electrical fault” and damaged a shop front, near the junction of Richmond Road, and the flat above it.
Kale said: “I heard this boom, something that sounded like a bomb… I see some guy burning. I thought, I have to do something, I have to help.”
“When I got there he was still alive…I tried to do my best, the police officers and fire brigade told me: ‘you did your best’.”
Huber moved to the UK two years ago, Kale told ELL, and worked in the now destroyed off- license.
Kale believes the man is now at Chelmsford Hospital in Essex, which is internationally renowned for its burns unit. He added that he hoped the man will return to a “normal life”, but is concerned about the severity of his injuries.
After speaking with the man’s cousin, Kale said the burns victim was: “still asleep” and will have surgery on Wednesday.
The family provided us with pictures of the victim.
Watch Eastlondonlines’ exclusive interview with an eye witness at the scene.
Interview and Video by Hana Stuchlikova and Anna Scepetilnikova
Words by Jack D’Arcy