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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 July, 2004, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK
Two firefighters killed in blaze
Fire crews at the scene of the fire
The last firefighter to die in London was in 1993
Two firefighters have died after being seriously hurt while tackling a blaze at a shop and flats in east London.

London Fire Brigade (LFB) said Bill Faust, 36, and Adam Meere, 27, were among 50 officers called to the blaze in Bethnal Green Road, at 0400 BST.

Two people were rescued from the roof during the fire, which is being treated as suspicious by police.

The firefighters got into difficulty in the lower part of the building where the fire was most severe.

They died soon after arriving at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

Mr Meere only finished his training in May and then joined Whitechapel fire station.

London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Kelly
It's a very tragic day for us and it's one of the worst events to befall an organisation like us
London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Kelly
Mr Faust had been a fireman for seven years and had played a key role in raising money for charity. He leaves a wife and three children.

The last firefighter to die in London was in 1993 in Willesden, north London.

Two members of the public were also taken to hospital on Tuesday and released after a routine check-up.

London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Kelly said that when firefighters arrived at the building they discovered a "serious" fire in the clothes shop and its basement.

He said smoke had reached all floors and was coming out of the windows.

Mr Faust and Mr Meere had entered the building wearing breathing apparatus but colleagues had to rescue them.

This sad news serves as a reminder to us all of the tremendous work and sacrifice being made by these dedicated individuals on a daily basis
London mayor Ken Livingstone

Mr Kelly said: "It's a very tragic day for us and it's one of the worst events to befall an organisation like us.

"A lot of my colleagues are very upset and distressed at the moment and we're doing everything possible to help them come through the next few days."

London mayor Ken Livingstone said: "This sad news serves as a reminder to us all of the tremendous work and sacrifice being made by these dedicated individuals on a daily basis."

Firefighters are still at the scene damping down and the borough surveyor is on site examining the building which has suffered structural damage.

LFB investigation officers and police are looking into the cause of the fire.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's June Kelly reports from Bethnal Green
"This is a very traumatic day for the London fire service"



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