Iain Duncan Smith calls for probe after woman dies in Chingford care home fire

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith has called for an investigation into a fire that broke out at a care home in his constituency killing one, after hearing that a neighbour had to call the emergency services.

London Fire Brigade was called to Connington Crescent, Chingford, just before 2.15am on Friday with 70 firefighters involved in tackling the blaze at one stage as the flames spread.

Richard Janssens, from the fire brigade, said a female resident had died by the time they arrived.

"The fire was complicated because of the fatality and the fact the roof had caught fire, so it had to be tackled from the inside and outside, but firefighters got it under control quickly," he said.

The resident who died is believed to be a woman in her 30s.

Talking to the Press Association, Mr Duncan Smith, the MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, said: "There's an investigation going on, so I can't go too far into it, but she (the neighbour) saw all the smoke coming out and saw them all running around the place.

Chingford fire
Iain Duncan Smith at the scene (Jamie Johnson/PA)

"She asked has anyone called the fire brigade and they said no because they didn't know what the number was.

"She called the fire brigade and it was thanks to her swift action I suspect, that not more than one life was lost."

Damage to the roof and window at the care home in Chingford following the fire (Victoria Jones/PA)
Damage to the roof and window at the care home in Chingford following the fire (Victoria Jones/PA)

The MP said the neighbour who raised the alarm deserved an award.

"It's a terrible tragedy. It could have been worse.

"The fire brigade were here very quickly and thanks to the neighbour they were called, and the ambulances too, so great credit to the neighbour."

He went on: "It's a home that deals with people with learning difficulties, so they are very vulnerable and often need the best kind of protection, and we'll be wanting to know that a proper investigation takes place to find out what happened."

The home is run by Sequence Care and the residents who escaped the blaze were taken to another care home run by the same company.

One neighbour, who was coming home from a night shift, described the scene.

Daniela Cazacu said: "I was phoning my husband but he didn't pick up.

"I saw lots of police and ambulances and I tried to run through but I was stopped.

"I was asking 'is my family there?' because all the vehicles were outside my house.

"They told me it wasn't my house, but when I got in, at 5:30am, there was lots of smoke in my house.

"I was so worried for my little boys."

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