Update: Plumstead flats flood residents evacuated from Villas Road block (From This Is Local London)
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Update: Plumstead flats residents evacuated after flood caused by vandals stealing copper piping from Villas Road block
TERRIFIED residents were evacuated from a flooded Plumstead block of flats after vandals left the building looking like a scene from "the Titanic".
People living in Villas Road were made refugees over the weekend by thieves who ripped out copper piping from the roof of the 10-storey building.
The attack on the water tanks meant water flooded down through the 40-flat building on Thursday (October 11) at around 1.50pm and even triggered a small electrical fire.
Two fire engines from Plumstead were joined by workers from Thames Water and Greenwich Council working throughout the afternoon to stem the tide of water. Firefighters were then forced to return at around 11pm after a fuse-box caught fire.
Families were moved out over the weekend as the apartments were considered "uninhabitable" by Greenwich Council - with electricity switched off until the flats dried out.
David Gregory, who lives on the bottom floor of the flats, heard the electrical explosion outside his door after watching on helplessly as water flowed into his apartment.
He said: "I opened my door and saw blue sparks.
"The water was like The Titanic.
"People with families were crying."
Kwama Botng, who lives on the eighth floor, told News Shopper: "It was scary to sleep because I didn’t know what was going to happen next. "A lot of people didn’t know whether to sleep or go outside."
Chan Man lives on the second floor and had to stay in his car to keep warm after being evacuated during the fire.
The 34-year-old said: "I heard a noise. I thought it was some kids but when I opened the door I saw water running down the stairs.
"I had to leave last night [October 11] - people came back around 12pm. I sat in my car for two hours to keep warm."
Mr Man says the water was around a foot deep on the stairwell and was also gushing through his light fitting.
Council staff remained overnight on Thursday to support distressed residents. They moved everyone out over the weekend with some residents being offered hotel accommodation until their flats are sorted.
A Greenwich Council spokesman said: "The flood caused considerable damage to the electricity in the block and we are working with the electricity supplier to restore this as soon as possible. "We are also working to restore the lift service as soon as possible.
"All residents were rehoused away from the block over the weekend or made their own arrangements to stay elsewhere. "Some households were able to return to their flats on Monday morning and we expect more to be permitted to return soon. "Those households who cannot safely return home are being offered hotel accommodation until their flats are ready."
The two main water tanks in the block were targeted by suspected copper thieves and CCTV footage is currently being examined.
Anyone with information is urged to call Sergeant Craig Johnson and the Glyndon Safe Neighbourhoods team on 020 8721 2638.