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London Fields house fire: Tributes paid to 'lovely old sociable lady' June after Blackstone Estate blaze

PUBLISHED: 16:09 02 May 2017

The fire broke out in a flat on the Blackstone Estate. Photo: Emma Bartholomew

The fire broke out in a flat on the Blackstone Estate. Photo: Emma Bartholomew

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A "lovely sociable lady" died in a fire that broke out in her London Fields maisonette.

The fire broke out in a flat on the Blackstone Estate. Photo: Emma BartholomewThe fire broke out in a flat on the Blackstone Estate. Photo: Emma Bartholomew

The partially sighted woman, who neighbours from Elmbridge Walk on the Blackstone Estate knew only as June, is thought to have been about 70.

Fire crews were called at 2am on Saturday when one of her neighbours heard the smoke alarm going off and saw smoke pouring out of the kitchen window.

A spokesman for the London Ambulance Service said she was taken to hospital, where she later died.

Neighbours approached by the Gazette expressed shock.

Her old friend Kevin Byrne, 90, who lives two doors down, said: “It’s sad. They had to burst the door open and they had her out here in the courtyard.

“They were trying to resuscitate her out here and they couldn’t do it. She probably inhaled all that smoke.

“She was happy-go-lucky. She loved her cigarettes.”

John Hunt said: “She was a lovely old sociable lady. She was really nice.”

He added June had been very trusting, even when it cost her: “I’d see her and say: ‘Are you going to the shop to get a few bits?’ and she’s say: ‘Yes, a few bits.’

“But I saw her at the gate a couple of months ago looking a bit flustered, and I said: ‘What’s the matter?’

“She said: ‘I couldn’t make the shops – two boys came along and I asked them to do me a favour and I gave them £20 to go to the shops to buy me some cigarettes, and they haven’t come back yet.’”

The cause of the fire is under investigation, and an inquest will be opened at Poplar Coroner’s Court in due course.

Firefighters had the blaze under control within an hour, but the fire damaged part of the living room on the maisonette’s first floor.

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