Residents at a block of flats engulfed by flames said concerns were raised with builders and the council about potential fire hazards.
Twenty flats with wooden balconies were destroyed and another 10 damaged in the fire in east London, Barking on Sunday.
Resident Rachel Mendez, said: “The fire spread so so quickly. I can’t even explain. It was just an inferno.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the “shocking” fire could have “easily resulted in fatalities”.
Speaking on Twitter, Mr Khan added: “This incident highlights both City Hall’s total lack of powers over private building owners, and the woefully slow response from the Government and developers to the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower – two years on, residents in blocks of flats are still living in fear that their buildings are unsafe.”
More than 100 firefighters tackled the blaze at De Pass Gardens, which spread over six floors, for more than two hours.
‘No fire alarm’
London Assembly member Andrew Boff, who lives nearby and went to help get people out, said on Twitter no fire alarm sounded during the blaze, which he said was “crazy”.
“At that time, only two floors were alight but when I came out, the entire building was in flames – perhaps something to do with these wooden balconies on the outside.
“I was also struck that there was no fire alarm. The fire alarms do not work – which to me, seems crazy.”
Mihaela Gheorghe said she had concerns about the safety of wooden balconies on the flats.
“We raised several issues to the builder, the maintenance companies and the council about the safety of having all these wooden balconies,” she said.
“I was in my fourth-floor flat when the fire started. We ran out.
“The fire brigade came but they found it hard to find a water supply at first.”
Rachel Mendez, who lived on the third floor, said her life possessions were “all gone”.
“Everything is completely gone. Every sentimental thing I own has been destroyed. Just gone – like that.
“I am thankful for the fact nobody was hurt – or even killed – but I just don’t know what’s going to happen now.
The fire was put out by 18:00 BST and its cause is being investigated.
A man and a woman were treated for the effects of inhaling smoke. No other injuries were reported.
People affected by the fire were told to “take rest” at the Thames View Community Centre – about a mile away from the scene.