London home of trans women and gay man torched in suspected anti-LGBTQ+ arson attack

A firefighter at Whitechapel

A fire at an East London flat, where two trans women and a gay man were living, is believed to have been started on purpose.

Authorities were called to a fire on the fourth floor of a six-storey building in Whitechapel on Friday (14 April). It took more than 20 firefighters and four fire engines to bring it under control.

Major roads nearby were closed as the firefighters battled the blaze, which had spread two floors. A stairwell was destroyed, but there have been no reports of injuries.

The incident is being “treated as suspicious”, according to the Metropolitan Police.

A crowdfunder page for residents Novaya, Harper and Bart was started by a member of the community, saying that they wanted to help the trio following the suspected arson.

“If Novaya had not been awake to hear an explosion from her window at the other end of the flat, the outcome would have been fatal,” the crowdfunded read.

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‘Lives on the line’

“If the fire brigade had arrived five minutes later, the fire door would have entirely burnt through, resulting in all three people within the property [being] exposed directly to the fire,” it went on to claim.

So far, more than £11,300 has been raised and will go towards loss of income and assets, as well as to fund a legal battle against the owners of the flat, following allegations that the fire system in the building did not comply with legal standards.

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Trans model Munroe Bergdorf shared the fundraiser on her Instagram to gain support for the group, who are currently looking for a temporary place to live.

“This ongoing environment of transphobic hate perpetuated by the UK government and media is putting lives on the line,” she said.

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