Neighbours pay respects to Tufnell Park man killed in fire

Heartfelt tributes have been paid to an elderly man who died in a flat fire last week.

Leonard Clarke, 68, was pronounced dead at the scene following the blaze last Thursday evening on the Brecknock Road Estate, Tufnell Park.

Police say there are no suspicious circumstances.

Mr Clarke, who leaves behind his wife Anne, was alone when the inferno tore through the third floor flat.

It is understood there was initially confusion as to whether he was at home, but London Fire Service stressed it did not impact on the rescue attempt.

Fellow Currans House tenresidents paid their respects, including Mary Unwin, who said: “It is just unbelievably sad. They were such a nice pleasant couple. No-one would have a bad word to say about them.”

Susan Menezes, who has lived there since the 1980s, said: “They were such a lovely couple and would always stop to speak. They were always together.”

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Another, Tina Robinson, said: “They were a very friendly couple and he will be missed.”

Friends said Mr Clarke was originally from Jamaica, had lived in the property for 25 years and has several children.

More than 20 firefighters evacuated residents as the flames spread and Mr Clarke is believed to have died from smoke inhalation.

The flat was completely gutted and the windows are now boarded up. Mrs Clarke is believed to be staying with relatives.

Resident Yavuz Mehmet, 23, said: “My friend Emre saw a light flickering in the flat and realised it was a fire so he called the emergency services. He was running around the building desperately trying to get everyone out.”

A post-mortem is scheduled for this week after which an inquest will be opened.