Muslims leaving the mosque after fajr prayers on Thursday night risked their lives by running to the top floor of a burning tower block in London to rescue hundreds of people.
Worshippers leaving Madina Mosque in Clapton noticed a fire on the eighth floor of Gooch House in Kenninghall Road at about 2.40am, and after breaking in, they started banging on all the doors starting with flats on the 18th floor.
Due to their brave efforts, everyone had escaped safely by the time 25 firefighters arrived at the scene.
Chairman of Madina Mosque, Mohammed Sidat, told the Hackney Gazette: “They banged on our doors shouting: ‘Fire, fire, get out,'” said one man, Ahmed, who has lived on the seventh floor for 15 years. “We were obviously a bit confused but I could smell it and hear the alarm going off in the upstairs flat.
“They helped my mum downstairs while I took my wife and checked on an elderly resident on the first floor who is recovering from cancer.
“They made sure everyone got out. They knocked on each door until someone opened. There was six or seven of them and they were only young. If it wasn’t for them we would never have got out.
“There are fasting but spent an hour running up and down 18 floors. They broke their way in not knowing what was inside. It could have been a lot worse – they risked their lives.
“It was a really important show of community spirit. It shows there are still people willing to help others and risk their own life.”
The fire which was caused by a discarded cigarette, was brought under control within an hour. One resident from the affected flat was treated for smoke inhalation, but there were no serious injuries or deaths.
Mavis McGee, the elderly former chair of the Clapton Neighbourhood Panel Tenants and Residents Association who was helped down from the first floor, wrote a letter of gratitude to Madina Mosque.