Chingford fire: Homes evacuated as huge fire devastates Poundland store in 'arson attack'

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Several homes were evacuated as nearly a hundred firefighters battled a huge blaze at an east London Poundland store hit by a suspected arson attack.

Fifteen fire engines and 97 firefighters were sent to the discount store in a busy shopping district in Chingford to battle the blaze, which broke out just before 7pm on Wednesday.

Dramatic videos have emerged on social media showing flames devastating the building in Old Church Road.

The ground floor and roof of the building has been completely destroyed in the fire.

Smoke can be seen billowing from the store (Paul Wood)

A police investigation has been launched, with three people seen suspiciously leaving the area soon after the blaze broke out.

A spokesman for the London Fire Brigade said: “Fifteen fire engines and 97 firefighters are tackling a fire in a discount store on Old Church Road.

“Half of the ground floor is alight. Part of the first floor and roof is also on fire.”

Picture have since emerged on social media of flames ravaging the building, with people believed to have been living in flats above the store.

People have been advised to avoid the area.

Jonathan Boyce, 37, who lives nearby, was on his way back from a nearby supermarket when he saw firefighters desperately fighting the blaze.

He told the Standard: “On the way back I saw this black smoke coming out of Poundland.

Huge flames could be seen coming from the roof of the building (Paul Wood)

“It escalated really quickly, I can see flames coming out of the windows to the apartments. I’ve never seen one as big as this.

“This fire is massive. I haven’t seen anybody shouting or being dramatic but I think the whole roof is on fire.” 

Smoke billows from the Poundland store as firefighters try to tackle the blaze (Jonathan Boyce)

Volunteers from the Salvation Army were spotted handing out food to firefighters, who have spent hours tackling the blaze.

At 10.30pm on Wednesday, firefighters were still at the scene tackling the blaze.

A Met Police spokesman said: “Police on patrol in Waltham Forest came across a fire at a shop in Chingford Mount at 18:55pm.

“Officers, London Ambulance Service and London Fire Brigade attended and found the store ablaze. At this early stage, there are no reported injuries.

“Nearby properties have been evacuated as a precaution. No arrests have been made.

“At this early stage, the fire is being treated as suspicious. Three suspects were seen to leave the area soon after the fire started.”

Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. 

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