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A huge fire in Bethnal Green that had to be tackled by 72 firefighters was caused by a cigarette.

Emergency services were called to the blaze Dickinson House in Turin Street on the afternoon of Saturday, June 24.

Pictures and footage shot by witnesses show billowing smoke and flames across the roof of the building containing 16 flats. The whole of a flat on the third floor was gutted by the fire and another flat was damaged, while the roof was also destroyed.

One man had to be taken to hospital suffering smoke inhalation, and Tower Hamlets Council said he is “now recovering.”

In a statement, Tower Hamlets Council said a rest centre was set up for the affected residents where staff from the council and Tower Hamlets Homes (THH) offered food, hot drinks and support.

The council added that the spread of the fire was not related to the cladding used on the building, and hotel accommodation was being offered to anyone who needs it.

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said: “This was a terrible incident caused by what appears to be an accidental fire.

“The emergency services, council and THH staff did a great job. The fire was contained and affected residents had a safe place to wait until emergency works were complete.

“We will do all we can to ensure affected residents are re-housed quickly and renovation works are underway as soon as possible.”

THH chief executive, Susmita Sen, said: “Our thanks and gratitude to the emergency services whose actions ensured there were no serious injuries.

“The council worked with the fire service and THH to evacuate all 16 dwellings in the four storey building.”

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) said the cause of the fire is believed to be the unsafe disposal of a cigarette, and investigations are ongoing.

The LFB’s 999 control centre took nearly 50 calls relating to the fire. They were first called at 4.25pm, and the fire was under control by 7.30pm.

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