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Canonbury flat fire death: ‘I woke up and could smell the flames’

PUBLISHED: 14:29 16 March 2016 | UPDATED: 12:51 17 March 2016

Six fire crews were called to the blaze in Crowland Terrace, Canonbury, in the early hours of this morning. Picture: submitted

Six fire crews were called to the blaze in Crowland Terrace, Canonbury, in the early hours of this morning. Picture: submitted

Archant

Neighbours today woke up to the sound of windows smashing as a massive fire ripped through a second floor flat in Crowland Terrace, Canonbury.

The second floor flat in Crowland Terrace, Canonbury, was gutted by the blaze on Tuesday morning. Picture: James MorrisThe second floor flat in Crowland Terrace, Canonbury, was gutted by the blaze on Tuesday morning. Picture: James Morris

A woman, who has yet to be named but was said to be a doctor, died in hospital in the early hours of this morning.

The flat, in a converted house, was destroyed. It had taken three hours - and 35 firefighters - to bring the blaze under control.

A woman, who lives opposite in Northchurch Road, but didn’t wish to be named, recalled the moment the fire woke her at around 1.30am.

She said this afternoon: “My boyfriend’s mum came down the stairs, screaming and shouting that there was a fire. I woke up and you could smell it immediately, and that’s bearing in mind we are across the road a fair distance away. That’s how strong it was.

“My boyfriend’s mum was screaming at the neighbours to get out of their houses. I was on the phone to the fire brigade and you couldn’t even see the flat - it was just engulfed in flames. The windows were smashing. It was awful.

“No one could reach the lady that lived there. They tried her mobile and that’s when people started to fear the worst. It has been a very sad atmosphere on the street today.”

Crowland Terrace, Canonbury, was still cordoned off with hazard tape this afternoon. The woman's flat is pictured top left. Picture: James MorrisCrowland Terrace, Canonbury, was still cordoned off with hazard tape this afternoon. The woman's flat is pictured top left. Picture: James Morris

Her boyfriend’s mum added: “I feel like I wanted to do more, but I just couldn’t. The fire was that strong.”

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has backed controversial plans to permanently axe 13 fire engines across the capital - including one based in Holloway - to save £11.5m from London Fire Brigade’s budget.

And the woman added: “It’s a tragedy that Boris doesn’t realise the impact of the fire service. That fire across the road could have been worse that it was.

“At the end of the day, the speed at which the crews got there is to be commended. How can he consider making cuts?

“He doesn’t seem to understand that this could be devastating for lots of people.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


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