Man dies after blaze rips through Somers Town flat

A Somers Town man who died when a blaze ripped through his apartment did not have a smoke alarm fitted in his bedroom, the Ham&High has learned. Firefighters confirmed that the fire, which destroyed two floors of the apartment block on Churchway, Somers T

A Somers Town man who died when a blaze ripped through his apartment did not have a smoke alarm fitted in his bedroom, the Ham&High has learned.

Firefighters confirmed that the fire, which destroyed two floors of the apartment block on Churchway, Somers Town on Monday, would have been smouldering for a long time before it was noticed.

Reports, which have not been confirmed officially, suggest the fire was caused by a cigarette which had not been put out.

If this is the case the Somers Town fire would be the fourth blaze around Camden in recent weeks where cigarettes were to blame for sparking it off. Three of those incidents, one of which was in a Gospel Oak care home, have claimed lives.


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The most recent fire started in the early hours of Monday morning and claimed the life of an elderly man, who has not yet been named.

Garth Brooks, station manager for Belsize, who was at the scene said: "The fire would have been going for some time before anyone noticed. Smoke detectors wake people up and make an awful racket as an early warning system- that is their virtue.

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"There was not much in the way of early warning. The building is amazingly well-built and if it had been like the more modern buildings you get today it would have come down like a pack of cards."

Mr Brooks added: "The message is out there on the side of every fire engine- we fit smoke detectors for free.

"We are doing as much as we can. But in order to get every house fitted it is going to take a while."

After starting in the victims room the fire burned for at least 10 minutes before flames spread to a second floor and residents were alerted to the danger.

Emergency services were called to the scene at 4.50am and 28 firemen, using six pumps, battled to contain the fire. and rescue 14 residents within an hour. But they could not get into the bedroom of the unnamed victim because the floor was too unstable.

Firefighters are still investigating the cause of the fire.

Glen Blah, fire station manager at Kentish Town, who attended the incident said: "This was a fierce fire and due to the damage caused fire investigators do not expect to begin a full investigation until later today (Monday) or tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.

"Our firefighters spend a lot of time trying to prevent fires from starting in the first place but unfortunately they do still happen. Incidents like this serve to remind everyone to be really careful in their homes".

The entire building has been temporarily cleared and floors three and four have been boarded up because of the damage. Shaken residents have been moved to a nearby hotel while investigations and repairs are carried out.

For a free smoke alarm fitting call 08000 28 44 28.

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