Terminally ill woman found dead in bed after fire at her Kentish Town home

Valerie Willis was found dead at her home in Kentish Town after a fire

Valerie Willis was found dead at her home in Kentish Town after a fire - Credit: Archant

An elderly woman who was terminally ill with breast cancer was found dead after a fire at her home in Kentish Town.

Valerie Willis, 74, whose maiden name was Valerie Bell, was found dead in bed at her ground floor flat in Countess Street, Kentish Town, after firefighters were called to the property just after 2pm last Thursday.

The flat was badly damaged in the fire and its cause is being investigated.

Family in Liverpool confirmed the pensioner had been battling breast cancer for some time before discovering the illness was terminal.

She had been married but had no children and is remembered by her family as “someone who was young at heart and enjoyed life”.

Neighbour Christopher Galae, of Countess Road, said: “The brigade came really well prepared, with an ambulance and everything.

“I said to them that she lived there and that she’s not very well. So they got the door off and went in.” He added: “I must say she was very, very ill. I used to pop by and say hello and I saw her only on Monday.

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“She was a lovely lady, but she kept to herself. She was a nice friend, very independent, she lived to do everything herself.”

An inquest into her death was opened and adjourned at St Pancras Coroner’s Court on Tuesday.

An investigation is also underway into the cause of an unrelated fire that broke out at a second floor flat in Gaisford Street, Kentish Town, at 8.40am on Monday.

No one was in the flat at the time and the cause of the fire, which was under control by 10am, is not yet known.