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Fire hero climbs up Highbury flats building to help pensioner

Woman was trapped inside her home during blaze in the early hours

01 June, 2018 — By Helen Chapman

The fire-damaged flat at Aberdeen Park in Highbury

A NEIGHBOUR climbed into a pensioner’s flat during a fire at a housing block in Highbury to reassure her until firefighters arrived.

Residents in Aberdeen Park told how the man scaled the outside of the building to get to the woman who was unable to leave her home.

The woman’s flat was above a second-floor property where the London Fire Brigade tackled a blaze in the early hours of Tuesday.

Four fire engines and 21 firefighters had been called to the scene.

An elderly man whose flat was at the centre of the blaze had left before rescue crews arrived and was later treated in hospital.

Fernando Collado-Lopez, who lives on the ground floor and was there at the time of the fire, told the Tribune: “There was one lady that was above the flat that had the fire. She couldn’t get out because she said there was smoke in the lobby so she said she couldn’t breathe.”

He added: “The flat below was burning, the smoke was coming up, I think people have the Grenfell tower in their heads. She was panicking so she opened the window which meant the smoke was coming in.

The boyfriend of someone who lives on the second floor climbed up the façade of the other side of the building and went into the flat to reassure her until the firemen came.”

Emergency crews rescued a man and a woman from the second-floor flat on arrival and gained control of the fire around an hour later. Three other adults were led to safety by the internal staircase.

Mr Collado-Lopez, who lives with his wife and 17-month-old child, said: “Everyone came out of the building and neighbours brought out blankets and jumpers to help each other out.”

The Brigade said the fire was believed to have started in the bedroom and been caused by candles left unattended.

“These items should always be held firmly in heat-resistant holders and placed on a stable surface where they won’t be knocked over,” it said in a statement. “Be aware that tea lights get very hot and without proper holders can melt through plastic surfaces like a TV or bath.”

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