Balls Pond Road fire: Despair of homeless hairdresser after Pat’s salon burns down

The scene of the blaze in Balls Pond Road last Wednesday night. Picture: Catherine Bethune

The scene of the blaze in Balls Pond Road last Wednesday night. Picture: Catherine Bethune - Credit: Archant

A man who spent 23 years cutting hair for the homeless is walking wounded after seeing his salon burnt to the ground.

Pat Rudman, 71, ran the shop in Balls Pond Road for more than two decades.

After it burnt down last Wednesday night, neighbours said they thought the building – which had advertised £4 haircuts and promoted radical political messages on the outside walls – was a squat.

But speaking to the Gazette this week, Pat insisted: “I have been there for 23 years. I opened it for the down and out. I used to charge very low prices for men and women to get their hair cut.

“It was shelter for homeless people to get a sandwich and a cup of coffee when it was freezing cold.”

Four fire crews spent 50 minutes extingushing the ground floor blaze, near the junction with Culford Road. London Fire Brigade said it was caused by a discarded cigarette.

Recalling the incident in between coughing fits, Pat said: “One minute I could smell gas. The next minute the whole place was on fire. I don’t use gas so I don’t know what happened.

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“I tried to get back in but the crews stopped me. Now I’m homeless. I’m just walking around. My lungs are about to collapse. I’m in and out of hospital and staying with customers when I can. But I don’t stay too long as I don’t want to be a nuisance.”

Pat declined our offer for a picture and an appeal for help, saying he wants to leave the matter with the emergency sevces. He finished: “I don’t want any glorification. I don’t give a damn about what’s happening any more.”

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