A criminal investigation has been launched after a fatal fire in a flat residents had ‘raised concerns about’ beforehand.
Dad-of-two Mizanur Rahman, 41, died in hospital after the blaze tore through the property in Shadwell, east London.
The London Fire Brigade confirmed around 15 people left the three-bedroom flat before the emergency services arrived.
The exact cause of the fire is currently unknown but a fire spokesperson said they believed the fire was caused by ‘a lithium-ion battery’ for an e-bike.
Multiple residents previously complained to Tower Hamlets Council saying the flat was overcrowded, the BBC reports.
One man claimed to the broadcaster anonymously that 18 people were sleeping on the floor the night the fire broke out.
‘We were all sleeping, someone called me and said get up, get up,’ he said.
‘We saw very black smoke… too much smoke, we [couldn’t] see.’
Another resident, Zubayer Khan, backed up the claims, saying there were several sets of bunk beds per room, with just a single toilet and bathroom.
He alleges the flat housed around ’18-21 people’ and each room was home to ‘seven to eight people’.
‘Some are sleeping in the kitchen, some are sharing beds, some are sleeping on the floor,’ he added.
The landlord has denied receiving complaints, and says he was unaware 18 people were living in the flat he says he rented out to three people.
Tower Hamlets Council says it acted upon complaints from residents about overcrowding in the block.
A spokesperson told Metro.co.uk: ‘Illegal subletting of properties is abhorrent and dangerous because the welfare of tenants is being put in jeopardy for financial gain.
‘We act on complaints of illegal occupation and subletting by visiting properties and issuing enforcement where appropriate.’
The spokesperson confirmed the council ‘issued enforcement’ following a property visit and a criminal investigation is now being carried out under the Housing Act.
‘It is shocking that Mizanur Rahman has lost their life and our thoughts are with his family and friends,’ they added.
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