The heatwave blaze which has destroyed homes in the east London village has been described as a “worst nightmare” event.

Dramatic footage captured the huge fire ripping through homes in Wennington, a settlement on the capital’s outskirts, as the city was scorched by record-breaking 40C temperatures.

The capital’s heat has triggered a series of blazes, putting firefighters under extreme pressure and prompting authorities to declare a major incident in the city.

Aerial footage showed thick black smoke billowing into the air, with buildings and fields on fire on Tuesday afternoon in Wennington, in the borough of Havering, near London’s border with Essex.

Wennington residents who fled the inferno were forced to watch their village burn on TV, as they desperately asked firefighters if they knew whether their homes had survived.

One elderly woman was seen crying hysterically saying: “Oh my God – the house is gone”, while her family tried to comfort her.

London’s mayor Sadiq Khan said firefighters were under “immense pressure” and he was in direct contact with the Commissioner following a day of fires across the scorching capital.

Wennington villagers forced to evacuate their homes were left to ask council and fire officials about whether their pets had been rescued and if their homes were still standing.

Ms Maceikaite said they were “very anxious“ about their home, adding: “When you look on a camera when it shows you from the sky it just freaks you out.”

Nikas said: “Our house is on the news and it’s the only house that hasn’t been burned so far.

Asked if they had seen or spoken to other residents, he said: “I saw my neighbour, he was OK, he was helping to put out the fires.”

The pair were trying to find their pet dog and cat with Ms Maceikaite saying: “The firefighters said if they heard a bark they would potentially break a door and if they’ve been rescued they supposed to have been brought here but in the main hotel they say they don’t know nothing about that.”

Dozens of homes appeared to be completely destroyed in the Wennington blaze and nearby fields were seen to be scorched.

A rescue centre for residents was set up at the Premier Inn on New Road.

Lizzie Pittman, from Aveley in Essex, who works at some stables by the roundabout, said she was looking after the five horses who had been removed from their stables in Wennington, which had burnt down.

Ms Pittman said: “This is your worst nightmare.

“You can see it getting closer and closer.

Firefighters battled to control the blazes as temperatures in the areas hit around 40C amid the heatwave blasting the nation.

By Tuesday evening, Firefighters were unaware of the full extent of the damage caused by blazes which affected houses, schools and churches across London, with crews describing scenes as “absolute hell”.

Elsewhere, grass fires breaking out led to a string of callouts for London Fire Brigade.

Residents were being evacuated from their homes and people were taken to hospital amid fires in the capital as temperatures soared to more than 40C on Tuesday afternoon.

Two “large-scale” incidents took place in Wennington and Upminster, while flames destroyed buildings and ravaged nearby fields.

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