A Wood Green taxi driver who helped rescue a baby, child and four adults from a raging fire has spoken of his disbelief that others stood by and filmed the family desperately screaming for help from their windows.
“Ronnie” Rahman, 29, heard their screams and shouts as he sat in his taxi on Sunday evening near the blaze, which started in the ground floor hallway of the flats above Fredericks kitchen store in Wood Green High Road.
He jumped out to see the fire raging below them – and up to 20 people standing by, some of them filming the horrific scene on their mobile phones.
“There was screaming, and a baby probably three or four months old. Some people were just recording it,” he said.
“I don’t know what to say. I was really shocked that everybody was recording instead of helping. It makes me realise how stupid we are becoming.
“I was really shocked that everybody was recording instead of helping. It makes me realise how stupid we are becoming.”
“I have a nephew and I that’s why I was like worrying; what if it happens in my house?”
The driver, who works next door to Fredericks at Woodside Mini Cab, opposite Woodside Park, dialled 999 and leapt into action.
He said: “I called the police to let them know what was going on; one hand I’m on the phone and one hand I’m trying to get the ladder out of the shop.
“The people were up on the first and second floor. they had the windows wide open and were screaming. They were crying and showing us the baby. Everyone was helpless.
“There was another gentleman and I was preparing the ladder and he said, ‘I will go up’. One of the ladies went out of the window and tried to pass the baby down. The other child was five or six years old.
“By the time the fire brigade came most of the people were out of the building down the ladder.”
As well as the children, three women and a man, understood to be Bulgarian, were rescued by Mr Rahman and his helper.
It is thought they were all taken to hospital for a check-up for smoke inhalation, but were otherwise uninjured.
“I’m a law-abiding citizen but sometimes you’ve got to break the law to save someone. It was my next door neighbour, so I had to do something.”
Mr Rahman, who lives in Bush Hill Park in Enfield, added: “One of the [firemen] came up and asked who came up on the ladder. He said, ‘Well done, thank you’.
“The fire rapidly escalated in a matter of minutes. I’m a law-abiding citizen but sometimes you’ve got to break the law to save someone.
“It was my next door neighbour, so I had to do something.”
Firefighters rescued two more children from the neighbouring building, and two women and two men from flats above the fire.
Fire crews spent just over an hour containing the blaze, which started shortly before 7.45pm. The cause is under investigation.