More than 50 firefighters tackled an early morning fire in Barking.
A block of flats in Adeliza Road was evacuated forcing 33 residents to spend the morning at a nearby community centre.
Station Manager Thomas Goodall, who was at the scene, said: “The fire appears to have started in a cavity wall on the ground floor and spread upwards to the first, second and third floors and into the roof.
“Fighting a fire spreading within the inner framework of a building is tricky. Crews used an aerial ladder platform to gain access to the fire from above and they also cut away at the walls. Our priority was to minimise damage to the property.”
At around 7.30am, residents were escorted into their homes by firefighters and police to pick up valuables and essential items.
To try and keep the damage to property and belongings at a minimum, firefighters covered the flats with water proof sheeting.
Crews are now cutting away and damping down and are expected to be at the scene for some time.
Fire engines and an aerial ladder platform are at the scene from Dagenham, Ilford, Barking, East Ham and Plaistow fire stations.
The Brigade was called shortly after 12.30am and the fire was under control before 8am.
The cause of the fire is under investigation