Residents describe ‘worst nightmare’ as blaze destroys homes

Residents of Wennington have described the blaze which destroyed homes as their “worst nightmare”.

Residents were evacuated from their homes in the village in east London on Tuesday afternoon as black smoke billowed into the air as flames destroyed buildings and ravaged nearby fields.

A Resident Relief Center has been set up at the Premier Inn on New Road.

An elderly woman was seen crying hysterically, saying, “Oh my God, the house is gone,” as her family tried to comfort her.

Firefighters tackle a blaze in the village of Wennington (Yui Mok/PA)

Others were asking council and fire officials if their pets had been rescued and if their homes were still standing.

Riminta Maceikaite, 38, and her son Nikas Janulevicius, 13, said their neighbours’ homes had been burned down, but according to aerial television footage, their house is still standing.

Ms Maceikaite said they were ‘very anxious’ about their home, adding: ‘When you look at a camera when it shows you from the sky, it scares you.

Nikas said, “Our house is making headlines and it’s the only house that hasn’t been burnt down so far.

When asked if they had seen or spoken to any other residents, he said: “I saw my neighbor, he was fine, he was helping put out the fires.”

The couple were trying to find their pet dog and cat with Ms Maceikaite saying: ‘Firefighters said if they heard a bark they would potentially break down a door and if they were rescued they were supposed to have been brought in here but in the main hotel they say they don’t know.

Summer weather July 19, 2022A woman is comforted near the fire in the village of Wennington (Yui Mok/PA)

Resident Janet Hickey, 70, who has terminal pancreatic cancer, said she was forced to leave behind all her cancer medication when they were evacuated.

She said, “I got all my cancer meds in the fridge.”

Her husband Patrick Hickey, 71, added: ‘We had to leave it all behind.

“We hope against all hope that our house is still there,” he added.

Ms Hickey said they felt ‘devastated’, adding: ‘We’ve lived there for 50 years.

Summer weather July 19, 2022Gladys Adarkwa, 54, from Aveley.

“I’m terminally ill so it’s not great to lose all that. I am also an artist and all my paintings are there.

In tears, she later added that she had spent 50 years building her garden and buying flowers at fairs to plant there.

The Premier Inn also lost power for around an hour, with a fire official telling the PA news agency that the blaze may have hit the main power line.

Later, residents who were at the Premier Inn were asked to find alternative accommodation for the evening, while a rest center was set up at the Hornchurch Sport Center where air mattresses were provided.

Andrew Blake-Herbert, chief executive of Havering Council, said: “We need people to avoid the Wennington area where possible and local people to keep doors and windows closed to protect themselves from the smoke and ashes.”

Earlier in the afternoon, a group of people stand near a roundabout off the A13 with horses on leads as the Wennington Fire continues to spread.

Lizzie Pittman, from Aveley in Essex, who works in stables near the roundabout, said she was looking after the five horses that had been removed from their stables in Wennington, which had burned down.

Summer weather July 19, 2022The scene of a fire in the village of Wennington (Yui Mok/PA)

Speaking to the PA news agency, Ms Pittman said: “It’s your worst nightmare.

“You can see him getting closer and closer.

“People are losing their homes, but it’s bricks and mortar.

“People are losing their cattle.”

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