A girl, 14, has been confirmed as the victim of a blaze at an east London block of flats after a teenager, 16, was arrested on suspicion of murder.
A murder investigation has been launched, the Metropolitan Police said today, adding that the fire is being treated as arson.
Police, paramedics, an air ambulance and six fire engines responded to reports of a fire along Tollgate Road, Beckton, at 5:28pm on Thursday.
Five people at the address were injured as the blaze tore through the three-storey building, sending billowing black smoke in the air, the force said.
Footage showed flames shooting out of the windows on the second floor, with witnesses claiming residents leapt from their windows to escape the raging fire.
A manager of a Lidl opposite the flat block told MyLondon: ‘I saw people jumping out the windows from the balcony at the top, people were running around everywhere.
‘They had a mattress there and they were trying to jump on it but some people didn’t get to the mattress.’
London Fire Brigade said the fire ‘destroyed’ a stairwell running between the ground floor and second floor of the residential block. Half the second floor was damaged.
Scene and safety cordons remain in place around the building, its windows now gutted and blackened.
Chief Superintendent Simon Crick who leads the North East Command Unit said: ‘My thoughts at this time are with the victim and their family and friends. Incidents such as these send shockwaves through our communities and I don’t underestimate the impact this will have in the local area and beyond.
‘Your officers will be on patrol in the immediate vicinity over the Easter Weekend, please talk to them if you have any concerns.’
Detective Chief Inspector Joanna Yorke of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command added: ‘We are at the very early stages of our investigation and are still keen to hear from anyone who has information but has not yet spoken with police.
‘I understand the effect an incident of this kind will have on the local community and I reiterate Chief Superintendent Crick’s advice that anyone with concerns should speak with local officers.
‘I would like to thank residents in the immediate area for their cooperation while my team conduct their enquiries.
‘Our thoughts are with the family of the victim.’
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