Search

Survivors of fatal Hampstead flats fire tell of fear as blaze spread

PUBLISHED: 18:36 21 November 2017 | UPDATED: 19:14 21 November 2017

A woman has died in a blaze at a four-storey property in Hampstead (Picture: @LFB)

A woman has died in a blaze at a four-storey property in Hampstead (Picture: @LFB)

Archant

Survivors of a fatal blaze which ripped through a Hampstead block of flats killing a woman in her 30s have spoken of their terror as the fire spread.

A woman has died in a blaze at a four-storey property in Hampstead A woman has died in a blaze at a four-storey property in Hampstead

Retired teacher Aura Romero said she escaped from her flat with no time to fetch her shoes after being woken in the middle of the night by a concerned neighbour.

The 72-year-old, originally from Colombia, said: “I was already asleep in bed when it happened.

“I heard all these people running and shouting, someone knocked on my door and said: ‘Come out! Come out!’

“I saw the fire, the house was burning so badly.

Fire crews use a cherry-picker to inspect the house on Daleham Gardens Fire crews use a cherry-picker to inspect the house on Daleham Gardens

“How did it start? I just don’t know, I am struggling to think because it seemed like it was in a store cupboard.

“I was not able to take any possessions with me, it was a big rush.

“We were pushed out of the property really, I couldn’t take my handbag or anything, no coat, no shoes.

“I was able to get dressed but there was no time for shoes, I was walking around in the street in my socks until a gentleman gave me a coat and some shoes.

“I’m okay physically but I am obviously quite upset.

“I cannot cry or do anything.

“I don’t know where I’m going to live.

“I’m going to see if I can get somewhere to stay with a friend.”

Miss Romero said the block contained 15 flats, eight of which were occupied.

She said she had lived in the property for 42 years, having originally only expected to stay for three months, and took advantage of a buy-to-let scheme to purchase the former council flat.

“There were people of all ages living here,” she said.

“Some were young children, there were families, and there are others who are my age.

“It is so upsetting.

“I don’t know who died but it was a lady.”

Some 60 firefighters tackled the blaze, while around 20 people fled the building before crews arrived when the alarm was raised at 1.52am on Tuesday.

One woman who was rescued from the building died at the scene, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) said.

A neighbour, whose home backs onto the site of the blaze, said: “I woke at 2am and my bedroom was full of smoke. I panicked and jumped out of bed and ran around the house. I checked on the children upstairs and then ran down to the kitchen to try to find the blaze. The smoke was so thick I assumed it was in my house.

“Then when I looked out of the window I saw the house on fire. It is so sad that somebody has died.

No further details have been released about the casualty.

The LFB said fire had damaged part of the first, second and third floors of the building, with the roof completely reduced to charred fragments.

The fire was brought under control by 5am, although firefighters remained at the scene and motorists were advised to avoid the area.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation, the LFB said.

Related articles

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

15 minutes ago

A recording studio owner is celebrating after winning a fight to stop homes being built on a disused garden.

20 minutes ago

Our Lady of Muswell Hill Primary School is on the up after receiving an upgrade in its Ofsted rating.

09:28

Police have shut down a cannabis factory in a daylight raid on an industrial estate.

Yesterday, 12:31

Two men from Camden appeared in court this morning charged with the murder of 25-year-old model Harry Uzoka.

Yesterday, 09:43

Two men from Camden have been charged with the murder of model Harry Uzoka.

Mon, 13:07

An end is finally in sight after two years of closures on the Gospel Oak to Barking Overground line, which has reopened today for what commuters hope is the last time.

Mon, 09:58

Construction giant Carillion has said it has “no choice but to take steps to enter into compulsory liquidation with immediate effect” after talks failed to find another way to deal with the company’s debts.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Protesters packed Islington town hall last night to fight the Whittington Hospital’s contract with Ryhurst, owned by Grenfell Tower-linked Rydon.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Toni Krok, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007, has set up a charity to help people living with the condition and their families adjust to the challenges it brings.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now