Club opens doors to London fire victims

By Alexander Britton, Press Association
Club opens doors to London fire victims

A social club owner turned his building at the foot of Grenfell Tower into a hub for fleeing residents within an hour of the blaze starting in the London high rise.

Joe Walsh, 58, threw open the doors of his Maxilla club shortly before 2am when the scale of the disaster became apparent.

Inside, those who lived nearby huddled around a TV in the bar on Wednesday morning, anxiously asking after friends they had yet to hear from.

"I got the call just before two o'clock and opened the club straight away," Walsh said.

"My reaction was to just open up for people to have tea and coffee - there are hundreds of flats here and people with nowhere to go."

Before long, displaced families began flocking to the bar, situated below a flyover on the A40.

Stocks and supplies soon followed, with supermarket Tesco promising to bring blankets and towels, along with other items.

By morning, tables were overflowing with bottles of water, food, sweets and clothing.

"We have had people coming in and out, now people have started bringing clothes," Walsh said.

"We have had people here in just their pyjamas and their dressing gowns."