Man, 35, dies after fire breaks out inside locked cannabis factory
A man has died following a fire at a cannabis factory in east London on New Year’s Eve, police have said.
Emergency services were called to reports of a blaze at a lock-up garage in Southwold Road, Clapton at 4.10pm on December 31.
Ermal Qose, 35, was rushed to hospital but died two days later, the Metropolitan Police has confirmed.
The force said he was an Albanian national and had no known address in the UK.
Following the fire, a 33-year-old man was arrested on December 31 on suspicion of false imprisonment and cannabis cultivation and has since been released under investigation.
A 26-year-old man was arrested on January 7 on suspicion of manslaughter, false imprisonment and cannabis cultivation and remains in custody.
A week after the blaze, police along with members of London Fire Brigade returned to Southwold Road to try and establish what happened.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Rogers said: ‘Ermal tragically lost his life having been trapped inside the locked garage which was being used for the cultivation of cannabis when the fire broke out. My thoughts and sympathies are with his family.
‘This is now a manslaughter investigation and although officers have spoken with a number of local people, I want to hear from members of the public who were in the area on New Year’s Eve or who have seen people coming and going from the garage.’
DCI Rogers also urged drug users to reflect on their involvement in the illegal trade.
He said: ‘In addition to appealing for witnesses in this case, I am also calling on those who choose to ignore the many and obvious issues caused by their own use of illegal drugs to reflect on Ermal’s death.
‘It is well known that this trade ruins the lives of almost everybody associated with it, and that fact is all too clearly demonstrated here.
‘If you know anything about those who profit from the vulnerability of others through the illegal drugs trade, please contact police or share that information with Crimestoppers anonymously.’
Anyone with any information is asked to call 020 8345 4128 or 101 quoting Operation Woodford.
Crimestoppers can be anonymously contacted on 0800 555111.
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