Hainault, United Kingdom
VIJAY SHAH via IMOGEN BRADDICK/Ilford Recorder
It’s the height of both the British summer and the cricket season, with the UK currently playing host to the Cricket World Cup, but cricket fans in the Greater London suburb of Hainault witnessed an unexpected, and rather unfortunate, summer cricket experience, when a fire broke out at their pitch, requiring the hard work of forty fire fighting personnel, with local police officers ordering the sudden evacuation of 3,000 locals, including families with children.
Local newspaper the Ilford Recorder reported earlier this morning that emergency services were called out to a blaze at the Hainault Recreation Ground, on Forest Road, while cricket fans were attending the Festival of Cricket, held annually, which took place yesterday (Sunday, July 7 2019).
The fire, which occurred at the ground’s car park, tore through three parked cars and a van near some food stalls. Three thousand people at the festival, and possibly also local residents, had to be evacuated. No injuries were reported.
A festivalgoer interviewed by the Recorder paper, Leanne Toole, recounted how she was evacuated from the ground by local police as they tried to keep the situation under control.
“It was just starting when we were there. There was loads of thick black smoke. The police told everyone to go out the park, the fire engines were on their way.
“They [the festival] had lots of food stalls in tents – it looked like it was coming from one of them, but it was right next to the children’s playground and it looked like the bushes had also caught fire.
“There were so many children there and in the park.”
Fire crews reached the scene at 4.53 pm and brought the fire under control at 6.11 pm, according to local reports. They came from five different stations, some coming in from as far as Leytonstone, in east London, and the nearby Essex town of Romford. It is believed the fire was accidental, although its exact source is not yet known.
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“Hainault fire: 40 firefighters sent to tackle blaze at cricket festival” – Imogen Braddick, Ilford Recorder/Archant Community Media Ltd (8 July 2019) https://www.ilfordrecorder.co.uk/news/hainault-recreation-ground-fire-1-6147259