Blaze in London destroys flats

Fire-fighters battled a blaze in east London
The aftermath of the fire shows extensive damage to the roof of the apartment complex. Photo credit: Reuters

Firefighters battled a blaze in east London on Sunday (NZ time) after flames engulfed a third-floor apartment in a low-rise block of buildings.

Huge swathes of flames and thick smoke was seen billowing out the windows of the apartment complex, as the fire spread to the roof.

Ten fire engines and more than fifty firefighters were at the scene.

The flats were evacuated, and crowds of people stood outside, photographing the incident.

Witness George Shankar said as the fire spread the roof of the building was reduced to "smouldering wood in about five minutes".

"There was smoke everywhere, pouring out of every single window in the block of flats, and you couldn't see more than 50m down the road."

It's reported one man was taken to hospital for smoke inhalation.

Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, Rushanara Ali, said residents were anxious "given what happened in Grenfell Tower".

The London Fire Brigade reported the cause of the fire is still unknown.

It comes not long after at least 79 people lost their lives in a blaze at London's Grenfell Tower, and the same day hundreds were forced from thier homes after safety inspections.