Mystery house fire in Hornsey Rise Gardens claims the life of man and dog

Forensic team scours gutted house in search of clues to cause of blaze that claimed life of man in his 60s who was known locally as 'Gerry'

Friday, 9th February 2018 — By Emily Finch

Hornsey Rise Gardens Fire

A forensics expert leaves the house in Hornsey Rise Gardens

FORENSIC experts have scoured a burned-out building in a bid to establish what caused a fire that killed a man and his dog.

Investigators were seen coming in and out of a gutted ground-floor flat in Hornsey Rise Gardens on Tuesday in the wake of the blaze.

The man in his 60s, known locally as “Gerry”, would often be seen walking his dog near his home close to Crouch Hill.

Two fire crews from Holloway and Hornsey with 14 firefighters on board battled the blaze as it engulfed the council-owned property for just over an hour after being first called at 5.30am by a neighbour.

The London Fire Brigade later confirmed the man had been pronounced dead at the scene.

His elderly neighbour, who lived in the upstairs flat of the semi-detached house, was rescued by firefighters wearing specialist fire equipment. She was taken by ambulance to hospital after suffering from smoke inhalation.

The burned-out property, which is owned by the council

“My dog was going mad this morning but I was sleeping,” said neighbour Jason Croy. “An old lady lives upstairs and I would see Gerry walk around with his dog. I would see the old lady regularly go to church. It’s all quite sad.”

Another neighbour, who gave his name as Michael, said he would regularly sit in a nearby park with Gerry and watch the world go by.

“We would eat biscuits together,” he said.

Two fire engines arrived on the scene less than five minutes after being called, according to borough commander Gary Squires.

He said: “I encourage readers to make sure they have working smoke alarms in their properties with a minimum of one on the ceiling of every floor and that they are tested at least once a month.”

He added: “We would also encourage fitting smoke alarms in every room that is regularly used and in the hallway in addition to also fitting heat detectors in kitchens.”

Police confirmed the dog also died in Tuesday’s fire.

A spokeswoman for Partners, the Private Finance Initiative that manages the house for the Town Hall, said: “We were deeply saddened by the death of a resident at Hornsey Rise Gardens on Tuesday morning and our thoughts are with all those affected. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Fire Brigade and police, and we are awaiting the outcome of their investigations.”

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