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Woman whose cats died in Finchley Road fire praises firefighters

PUBLISHED: 12:57 29 October 2015 | UPDATED: 13:37 29 October 2015

Meshell Boyle with one of her cats

Meshell Boyle with one of her cats

Archant

A victim of the Finchley Road fire has praised the firefighters who tried to save her two rescue cats from the blaze.

Meshell Boyle with her Siamese rescue cat GriffithMeshell Boyle with her Siamese rescue cat Griffith

Meshell Boyle sadly lost her pets Miss Kitte, seven, and Griffith, five, to the three-day fire, which destroyed her home when it broke out in the basement of PhoneRepairs4U, near the O2 shopping centre, on Monday.

Firefighters tried to save them from the blaze but by the time they reached Miss Boyle’s flat, they had been overcome by smoke.

US-born Miss Boyle, 32, who works in human resources, said: “They were my world. They just had incredible personalities. They loved to hang out and chill, and they would always greet me when I came home.”

Miss Boyle was woken up by the sound of fire engines outside her flat at about 6.30am on Monday morning.

The last picture of Miss Kitte and Griffith, Meshell Boyle's two cats who sadly died in the fireThe last picture of Miss Kitte and Griffith, Meshell Boyle's two cats who sadly died in the fire

As she walked downstairs to find out what was happening, she started to smell smoke.

“I thought someone was burning toast,” she said.

But when she left the building, she saw the smoke for the first time.

“The first firefighter I came across, I told him I had pets and asked if I could go back, but obviously they said no,” said Miss Boyle, whose landlord has found her temporary accommodation at a hotel in Chalk Farm. “But the fire department were amazing in that regard.

Miss Kitte and Griffith, Meshell Boyle's two cats who sadly died in the fireMiss Kitte and Griffith, Meshell Boyle's two cats who sadly died in the fire

“They quickly passed the message along about my cats and stayed in contact with me.”

She added: “But at about 11am, I saw a big plume of smoke and I thought, there’s no way they would have survived at that point.

“Then a firefighter came and put his arm around me and told me that they had gone in and found them but it was too late.”

Miss Boyle brought the Siamese cats over from the US when she moved here for work about a year ago.

Today, she praised the community for pulling together to support the 25 victims of the fire, who have all been made homeless.

She said Virgin Active in the O2 shopping centre let them use the gym’s showers, while Byron burger restaurant provided them with food.

Miss Boyle has also thanked selfless local residents who have banded together to launch a donation drive for them.

Donations can be dropped off at the Ham&High offices opposite Waitrose in Finchley Road, the O2 shopping centre, at JW3 community centre in Finchley Road or at Paramount estate agents in West End Lane, West Hampstead.

More information can be found on Facebook.

Fire crews and two engines remain at the scene of the blaze this afternoon.

Finchley Road has re-opened, with a contraflow in place on the northbound carriageway.

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