London Evening Standard/London
A young woman was killed in a devastating fire which swept through a mansion block in Hampstead in the early hours of yesterday.
Families woken by screams fled as flames tore through the four-storey building in Daleham Gardens just before 2am. More than 60 firemen spent three hours battling the blaze. A woman said to be in her twenties died at the scene after being found unconscious in an upstairs room.
Tanya Ley said she was woken by a fire alarm as her two grandchildren, Daniel and Bobby, eight and 12, slept in the next room. Ley, 46, said: “My fire alarm went off and I ran to get the kids. There were flames coming out of the ground floor. I jumped out of the window with the kids. I thought we were going to die. I shouted for everyone to get out. Most people managed, but one poor woman died. She had only just moved in. I am devastated I couldn’t get her out too. I’m no hero, I did my best. I can’t get rid of the images of the shooting flames.”
Her daughter Charlotte Donoghue, 27, said: “She heard the fire alarm outside her door, ran out of her room and saw flames. She phoned me and as she was on the phone she was screaming, ‘Fire, fire’ to try to alert everybody. It was horrific to hear. I thought she and my boys were going to die.”
Retired teacher Aura Romero, 72, who has lived in her flat for more than 40 years, fled barefoot after being woken by a neighbour. Romero, originally from Colombia, said: “Someone knocked on my door and said, ‘Come out! Come out!’ I saw the fire, the house was burning so badly. I was able to get dressed but there was no time for shoes, I was walking around in the street in my socks until a gentleman gave me a coat. I cannot cry or do anything. I don’t know where I’m going to live.”
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