House destroyed in King’s Cross fire was being renovated

A MARRIED couple were decorating their house when fire swept through and destroyed the top two floors.

A dust sheet – intended to protect their home as improvements went on – caught alight and set off the devastating blaze, according to one neighbour.

The couple were trapped in the four-storey terrace, in Great Percy Street, King’s Cross, after the blaze broke out around 11.20pm on Tuesday. They had to be rescued by firefighters, who used ladders to haul them out.

An 82-year-old woman who lives nearby, and who did not want to be named, said: “When I came to the door, I could see the place on fire. The smoke was billowing out. The wife was out in the street by that time. They were bringing the husband down on the ladder.

“I believe it was a dust sheet that caught fire. They had workmen in.

“It went right through from the second floor to the roof. They can’t get up there. The stairs have gone.”

She said the woman had been staying elsewhere to escape the refurbishment work, and had only returned the day before the fire.

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“I’m devastated for them,” she added. “They can’t stay there. They must be feeling traumatised.”

Terry McCarthy, 78, who lives in nearby Percy Circus, added: “There was so much noise and screaming and sirens. There were stacks of smoke.”

Six fire engines and around 30 firefighters ended up being called to the scene, taking more than two hours to get the fire under control.

An Islington firefighter said: “All the stairs and banisters are gone, from the first floor up to the roof. The man suffered slight burns and they were both suffering from smoke inhalation.”

Neither person was seriously injured. An ambulance service spokesman said: “Our staff treated one person for minor smoke inhalation. No-one was taken to hospital.”

The London Fire Brigade is investigating the cause of the fire.