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Elderly couple led to safety from Highgate Road flat blaze

The fire raging

Firefighters warn of the dangers of hoarding papers and books 

Fire crews extinguish the blaze

Published: 13 October 2011

AN elderly couple es­­cap­ed when fire gutted a top-floor flat conversion in Kentish Town.

The London Fire Brigade is investigating the cause of the blaze which erupted at the building in Highgate Road on Monday afternoon.

The couple were treated for smoke inhalation at the Royal Free Hos­pital in Hampstead but an ambulance team said they had made a full recovery.

Eyewitness Ian Bailey, 36, who used his camera phone to take the photographs in today’s New Journal, said: “They escaped before it got really bad.

There were builders helping them out of the flat because they lived on the top floor. It was the workmen who calmed them down a lot before the ambulance arrived.”The blaze, which damaged the top floor and part of the roof, took an hour to bring under control. 

Six fire engines and 30 firefighters attended.

“It was made worse because there were lots of belongings inside the flat apparently,” said Nick Gordon, who lives opposite.

“The neighbours weren’t evacuated.

In fact, at one point when the firefighters were in full swing trying to sort it out and it looked like something out of a film, a neighbour next door actually slammed shut a window and carried on watching the telly. Maybe he just wanted some peace and quiet.”

Fire station manager John Lalor said: “Crews worked exceptionally well to stop the fire from spreading throughout the four-storey building.

There was a huge amount of papers, magazines and books, which meant crews couldn’t stand up properly in the flat.

“People should try to avoid hoarding this material as it increases the chances of having a fire in the first place and intensifies the spread of fire if one does occur.”



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