Neighbours of Hornchurch house fire speak of their shock
- Credit: Archant
Neighbours have spoken of their shock at the death of a woman following a house fire in the early hours of today.
Residents of Laburnum Avenue, Hornchurch, watched as four fire engines and 21 firefighters tackled a blaze in a mid-terraced house.
A woman was pronounced dead and two men were taken to hospital in a critical condition.
A woman who lives opposite saw the events unfold.
“It was about 4.30am when I looked at the clock,” she said.
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“I watched the firemen bring them out. I was compelled to watch, willing them to do everything they could.”
An elderly man, is said to live in the property.
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“He has not been well,” continued the neighbour.
“Different people at different times [have been staying with him] but I didn’t think anyone was there. I thought things had improved a bit.
“He has lived there a long time. I think he is retired and in his 60s or 70s.”
Valerie Newman and Jeffrey Prendergast, who live a few doors down from the house said they “heard all the sounds”.
Ms Newman said: “He did his back in and had all his family there backwards and forwards. They were coming and going – and a district nurse.”
Mr Prendergast added: “There were lots of firemen in the drive. I saw stretchers going in there [the house].”
Mr Prendergast continued: “The police wouldn’t tell me anything. They just said it wasn’t a gas explosion.
“He is a very pleasant sort of guy. He keeps himself to himself. I think his wife died some time ago.
“It is tragic. There was smoke billowing out the windows.”
A police officer at the scene said the cause of the fire is still being investigated.