Kensington fire: Man charged with arson after blaze at block of flats leaves 13 in hospital

A man has been charged with arson after a “terrifying” blaze at a flat block in Kensington left 13 people in hospital.

Five people were rescued from the burning five-storey building on Friday, which was tackled by around 100 firefighters.

The Metropolitan Police on Monday confirmed the fire is being treated as suspicious.Wesley Guilherme Farias, 25, of no fixed abode, has been charged with arson with intent to endanger life, the force revealed.

He was due to appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

The fire broke out at the building in Emperor’s Gate around 12.15am on Friday.

Seven police officers and six residents suffered smoke inhalation during the incident.

Firefighters tackling the blaze on Friday (london fire brigade)
Firefighters tackling the blaze on Friday (london fire brigade)

“All were taken to hospital and all have been discharged,” said a Met spokesperson on Monday. “Thankfully no one suffered more serious injuries.”

Scotland Yard released footage showing police officers, who were first to arrive at the scene on Friday before being joined by ambulance service and fire brigade colleagues, tackling the “terrifying” blaze and helping residents to escape.

The dramatic body worn footage released shows officers kicking down the front door to enter the burning building.

Coughing as they make their way through thick smoke, they are heard shouting “get out, get out, get out” to residents.

They then gained access to six flats to rescue those inside.

Another clip from outside in the street shows an officer shouting up to a resident who is trapped on the second floor. “Stay down on the floor and cover the door,” he says.

By this point huge flames were bursting through the building’s front door, blocking the entrance and exit.

The blaze occurred in a five-storey building on Emperor’s Gate, South Kensington (PA Wire)
The blaze occurred in a five-storey building on Emperor’s Gate, South Kensington (PA Wire)

Superintendent Jill Horsfall, one of the senior officers responsible for policing Kensington & Chelsea, said: “The bravery and professionalism of the Met officers who responded so rapidly to this terrifying fire shows the very best of policing. They acted without hesitation to rapidly enter a burning building full of smoke and to save lives.

“Our subsequent investigation will be equally tenacious and we now have a man in custody.”

Anyone with information that may assist the investigation should call 101, ref 107/01Mar. To remain anonymous please call Crimestoppers.