Dancing with death
By thisislocallondon – Thursday 05 July 2001
UP to 200 ravers escaped from a burning building in Sutherland Road, Walthamstow, after an illegal party got out of hand.
Nearby residents and factory workers claimed that this was not the first time the rave had taken place. They confirmed that it was an annual event, often involving drink and drugs.
On Sunday, firefighters battled through clouds of thick, black smoke as flames ripped through a derelict warehouse after a Ford Fiesta, abandoned inside the building, was set alight.
The fire was in an unoccupied warehouse previously owned by AW Alloys Ltd.
A fire officer said that the crew received a number of calls at about 5.38pm alerting them to the blaze. Some calls were from party-goers.
Gary McCann, 18, from Sutherland Road, said that the ravers appeared to be new-age travellers.
He said: “I first heard the music on Friday night. But I know the rave takes place at the old warehouse once a year, and usually over the period of a weekend.
“Last year my mum was walking past the building and they started throwing bottles at her. The people are trouble and there are always drugs going round. You can see these people walking around the streets and it is so obvious they have taken ecstasy or LSD.”
Dan Dodoo, 17, also from Sutherland Road, said that he attended the rave: “I was walking past and they invited me in, so I went.
“They all looked like punks to me, and the music was loud. I saw a lot of drink and drugs going around. These were not the people you usually see in large numbers in Walthamstow.”
A man who does not want to be named said: “I work next door to the warehouse. On Monday morning we saw that the gate had been broken, and there was glass from where the windows had been smashed.
“There was household rubbish everywhere, drinks bottles, and food wrappers, and one of the workers claims they saw solvents scattered about, but I can’t confirm that.”
He said that the rave was no surprise, and that he would rather it took place in the old warehouse than his workplace, which at times had happened.
“Sometimes they break into our factories and have a bit of a party. This time round the ravers were cleaner,” he said.
A fire officer said that firefighters had difficulty gaining entry to the site because the premises were boarded and bricked up for security reasons.
He said that firecrews dealt with the fire using a hose-reel jet and wore breathing apparatus.
“Everyone escaped and no one was injured,” he added.
Police attended the scene but no investigation is taking place.