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Shock as woman, 42, dies in bedsit blaze

PUBLISHED: 16:34 16 September 2010 | UPDATED: 17:06 16 September 2010

Orsett Terrace fire, number 5.; Copyright: Jonathan Goldberg

Orsett Terrace fire, number 5.; Copyright: Jonathan Goldberg

Jonathan Goldberg 07958 229 037

Reports suggest council tenant did not have an active smoke alarm in place

A 42-YEAR-OLD woman who died in a blaze in her Paddington home is believed to have had her smoke alarm switched off.

The fire, which began at around 3.30am on Sunday, broke out in a council bedsit on the ground floor of a four-storey building in Orsett Terrace.

The cause of the blaze, which was extinguished within an hour, is still under investigation but a fire source revealed to the Wood&Vale that the smoke alarm was inactive.

One neighbour living directly opposite, Dana Denis-Smith, confirmed the report saying another resident claimed he heard no sound of a smoke alarm when he tried to gain access into the victim’s burning flat.

She said: “I was little bit concerned that she didn’t have a smoke alarm to save her. The man at the top of the flats smelt the smoke first. He went to knock on her flat and he didn’t hear any alarm. The only alarm was him smelling the smoke.”

Ms Denis-Smith said neighbours also mentioned that the deceased woman was a smoker and was often be seen smoking in the communal hallway. Four fire engines and around 20 firefighters were called to the blaze on Orsett Terrace, along with the ambulance workers and police officers.

Eight other residents, including a child, had already managed to escape before the emergency services arrived.

Ms Denis-Smith heaped praise on both the fire service and the paramedics, who she said fought for more than hour to save the dying woman’s life.

“It was painful to watch how much they wanted to save her but they weren’t able to,” she said.

A London Fire Brigade spokeswoman said: “Firefighters were called to a fire in a flat on Orsett Terrace in Paddington during the early hours of Sunday.

“Crews rescued a woman from the ground floor bedsit but she died at the scene.

“The fire damaged around a quarter of the flat which was part of a house conversion. Eight further people – seven adults and a child – escaped from the other flats in the building before the Brigade arrived.

“Four fire engines and around 20 firefighters from Paddington, North Kensington and Kensington fire stations attended the scene. The Brigade was called at 3.30am and the incident was over at 4.20am.”

Cllr Philippa Roe, Westminster Council’s housing boss, said: “This was a terrible tragedy and our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.

“We will assist the fire service and police in any way we can with their enquiries.

“The fire brigade are carrying out an investigation and further details will be confirmed in due course. It is not wise to speculate on the circumstances around the fire or the cause of the fire.”

The woman is yet to be named as officers inform her next of kin.


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