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Neighbour’s tribute to man who died in Hornsey Rise Gardens fire: ‘He was so polite and dressed his dog in Arsenal gear’

PUBLISHED: 16:55 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:16 08 February 2018

A man died in a flat fire in Hornsey Rise Gardens on Tuesday morning. Windows have been boarded up on the property. Picture: Polly Hancock

A man died in a flat fire in Hornsey Rise Gardens on Tuesday morning. Windows have been boarded up on the property. Picture: Polly Hancock

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A neighbour of a dog lover who died in a flat fire in Hornsey Rise Gardens said this afternoon: “The community is so sad.”

A man died in a flat fire in Hornsey Rise Gardens on Tuesday morning. Flowers have been left at the gate. Picture: Polly HancockA man died in a flat fire in Hornsey Rise Gardens on Tuesday morning. Flowers have been left at the gate. Picture: Polly Hancock

The man, who has not yet been formally named but was known to neighbours as “Gerry”, died in a ground floor flat fire on Tuesday morning.

Today, a burning aroma could still be smelt outside the property, which was boarded up.

The man’s dog is also believed to have died in the blaze. It was said he would dress his pet in an Arsenal shirt.

A neighbour, who didn’t wish to be named, told the Gazette this afternoon: “It’s so sad. We used to see him every day. I’m gutted – so shocked.

“He kept himself to himself, but just got on with things. I never actually knew his name. No one really knew him well.

“As a community, people would just say hello. Without fail he would say ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon’.

“He had a very strong Irish accent, I sometimes couldn’t make out what he was saying, and he was always very polite.”

She continued: “His dog died as well. We’re all Arsenal fans round here, and he used to put an Arsenal shirt on the dog. Everyone loved it and we would always make a fuss over the dog.

A man died in a flat fire in Hornsey Rise Gardens on Tuesday morning. Windows have been boarded up on the property. Picture: Polly HancockA man died in a flat fire in Hornsey Rise Gardens on Tuesday morning. Windows have been boarded up on the property. Picture: Polly Hancock

“It was always him and the dog. You’d never see one without the other. They’d go to the shops every morning. When my friend rang and told me what happened, she said it was ‘the man with the dog’.

“As a community, it’s so sad to lose someone like that, who has been around for so long.”

She added: “Unfortunately he met his death in the worst way possible. I just pray to the lord that he was in his sleep when it happened.

“Let’s hope something like this never happens again.”

Two fire crews and 14 firefighters from Holloway and Hornsey stations were called to the blaze at 5.30am on Tuesday.

London Fire Brigade said the ground floor flat was “badly damaged”.

A woman was also rescued from a first floor flat. She was suffering from smoke inhalation and was taken to hospital.

The fire was brought under control by 6.30am, and the cause is being investigated by the brigade.

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