Hackney Council could take legal action over Jewish festival ‘explosion’ in Stamford Hill

Emergency services were called to the fire in Ravesndale Road on Wednesday. Picture: @999London

Emergency services were called to the fire in Ravesndale Road on Wednesday. Picture: @999London - Credit: Archant

Hackney Council could take legal action against the Jewish Community Council over a bonfire that “exploded” in the middle of a packed Stamford Hill street during a festival.

Firefighters were called to numerous fires in the area on Wednesday last week during the Lag B’Omer festivities.

One particular “explosion” in Ravensdale Road left 10 people with minor injuries and was declared a “major incident” by private ambulance charity Hatzola. Videos that surfaced online showed a fireball in the street as children ran off.

Now the town hall has slammed the Jewish Community Council, which applied to close the street for the festival – and banned it from hosting events until an investigation into what happened is done.

Neighbourhoods director Kim Wright said: “At no point whatsoever did the applicants tell us that they would be building a large bonfire in the middle of the road.

“Needless to say we would never have given permission for a bonfire to be lit in the street – so it appears the organisers have misled the council in failing to disclose the true nature of the event.

“The organisers displayed a shocking disregard for the safety of local residents and the attendees, which, according to the video I have seen, included young children. It is sheer luck that no one was seriously injured, or worse.

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“We are investigating the incident and taking legal advice. In the mean time we will not be allowing any event or road closure request from the Jewish Community Council or any of its related organisations and individuals.”

Fire chiefs also spoke out over the fires. Hackney borough commander Narinder Dail said Wednesday night “was a busy one”.

“Thankfully, none of the fires spread to cars, or buildings but we are concerned that there could be a more serious fire,” she said. “There are lots of videos on social media which seem to show the fires flashing and exploding which suggests that people may have been using accelerants.

“Could I urge everyone to take a moment to read our bonfire safety tips and never throw anything like aerosols, batteries or petrol onto a fire?

“We want the community to celebrate in safety.”