Woman killed as huge blaze sweeps through London tower block
Around 60 firefighters tackling incident at Daleham Gardens
A fire at a block of flats in north London has left one woman dead, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) said.
Some 60 firefighters tackled the blaze at the four-storey building in Daleham Gardens, Hampstead, that broke out in the early hours of Tuesday.
Around 20 people fled the building before crews arrived, however one woman who was rescued from the building died at the scene, the LFB said.
No further details have been released about the woman.
Crews in eight fire engines, along with an aerial appliance, raced to the scene after the alarm was raised at 1.52am.
The LFB said fire had damaged part of the first, second and third floors of the building.
Pictures posted on social media showed flames leaping from the building's roof, the whole of which was damaged.
A brigade spokesman said: "Crews rescued a woman from the building but sadly she was pronounced dead at the scene. Around 20 people left the flats before the brigade arrived."
The fire was brought under control by 5am, although firefighters remained at the scene and motorists were advised to avoid the area.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation, the LFB said.
Fire fighters could be seen on the roof of the block of flats at 7.30am, a column of smoke still rising past them.
Hoses snaked up nearby Akenside Road through several lines of police cordons which separate the surrounding streets from the scene of the blaze.
The roof of the building had been completely ravaged by the overnight blaze, leaving only blackened fragments jutting out.
Firefighters surveyed the scene of the fire from an extendable platform attached to a crane.
One window of the building, which appeared to have been opened, had also been left black.
Retired teacher Aura Romero said she fled from her Daleham Gardens flat with no time to fetch her shoes after being woken in the middle of the night by a concerned neighbour.
The 72-year-old, originally from Colombia, said: "I was already asleep in bed when it happened.
"I heard all these people running and shouting, someone knocked on my door and said: 'Come out! Come out!'
"I saw the fire, the house was burning so badly.
"How did it start? I just don't know, I am struggling to think because it seemed like it was in a store cupboard.
"I was not able to take any possessions with me, it was a big rush.
"We were pushed out of the property really, I couldn't take my handbag or anything, no coat, no shoes.
"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 and some shoes.
"I'm okay physically but I am obviously quite upset.
"I cannot cry or do anything.
"I don't know where I'm going to live.
"I'm going to see if I can get somewhere to stay with a friend."
Miss Romero said the block contained 15 flats, eight of which were occupied.
She said she had lived in the property for 42 years, having originally only expected to stay for three months, and took advantage of a buy-to-let scheme to purchase the former council flat.
"There were people of all ages living here," she said.
"Some were young children, there were families, and there are others who are my age.
"It is so upsetting.
"I don't know who died but it was a lady."
Independent News Service