Several residents of an Erith flat block have claimed that no fire alarms went off but that they were made aware of a fire through people “banging” on each other's doors when a blaze broke out in one of the flats in the building.

Around 50 people were evacuated as 25 firefighters and four fire engines tackled the blaze in Jacobs House, Kale Road on April 14.

Resident Paul Elliot, whose flat was on fire, was on his way to work when he was bombarded by phone calls by his friend who told him there was black smoke coming from his balcony.

News Shopper: Picture of Paul and BrunoPicture of Paul and Bruno (Image: Paul/LFB)

As he was driving towards the Dartford Crossing, he realised that his dog Bruno was left inside the sixth-floor flat.

Paul previously told the News Shopper: “I flew home and there was police everywhere – the road was blocked off and it was a surreal experience.

“Apparently people tried breaking in through the front door.

“It sounded like explosions were coming from my flat”.

A local shop owner, Mohammed Nasar exclusively told the News Shopper that he and several others rushed into the building to alert residents of the incident.

He was shocked to see "many people” inside with some who were unaware and "still asleep" at 1.30pm.

The 32-year-old explained: “I work nearby and as I was going to work I saw so many people outside the flats.

“I stopped and looked to see what was happening. And I was told that there was a fire in one of the flats.

“Me and some people then went back in and started knocking on doors, telling people to get out.

“I was so shocked to see so many people that were still in their homes.

“One man was also still in his sleeping robe, I’m assuming he was asleep. Just imagine if he didn’t wake up at all.”

A spokesperson for Peabody, who manages Jacobs House, said it knows that it’s been a “distressing” time for residents.

It explained that the fire brigade's advice for Jacobs House is that residents should stay in their homes if there is a fire elsewhere in the building.

It added: “That's why each flat in Jacobs House has its own individual smoke alarm rather than a communal building-wide fire alarm. 

“Thanks to the design and construction of the building, the fire didn’t spread and was contained to the one flat where it started.”

Paul said that Bruno was barking and crying and he stopped ten minutes before the brigade arrived.

As fire crews went into Paul’s flat, Bruno was found “without a scratch” in his bedroom behind the bed.

Paul added: “In my head I thought Bruno had been burnt to a crisp, and I started to have a breakdown.

“I don’t generally believe in God, but I honestly think Bruno had a guardian angel look over him”

Firefighters informed Paul that 70 per cent of his three-room flat was destroyed by fire.

He described the scene as resembling a “war zone”, with items like laptops, cans of lighter fuel, and disposable vapes in the living room, which could have exploded during the incident.

Another person, who wishes to be kept anonymous, said they saw many people panicking as they watched the fire unfold.

She added that her partner also went inside the building and was “horrified” to see many residents still in the building.

She explained: “I’m not a resident of the flats but I do live nearby and we’ve also had issues with fire alarms.

“I was told that no one heard anything either and no fire alarms had gone off.

“Surely you’d have fire alarms in the communal areas to alert everyone.

“The landlord needs to be held accountable and sort out these buildings because we do not feel safe.”

A spokesperson for Peabody added that it makes sure every building has an up-to-date fire risk assessment and is in regular contact with residents about minimising the risk of fire and staying safe.

The incident was under control just after 2.10pm and the cause of the blaze was accidental and due to the unsafe disposal of smoking materials.

Fire crews from Plumstead, Erith, Bexley, and East Greenwich fire stations were in attendance.