Singer Duffy’s loft fire triggers Kensington apartment block evacuation


The fire, thought to have originated in the singer’s £12 million loft apartment, took 12 fire engines and 60 firefighters to quell the flames.


By Victoria Bull, Rebecca Gillam, Lorcan Lovett & James Phillips

Singer Duffy’s loft fire caused residents of a luxury apartment block to be evacuated in Kensington on Wednesday night.

The ‘Mercy’ singer, 28, saved her dog and two cats after the top floors and roof of the St Mary Abbots Terrace building caught fire.

The fire, which is thought to have originated in the singer’s £12 million loft apartment, took 12 fire engines and 60 firefighters to quell the flames after they were called at 7.05pm.

All residents were evacuated and escaped unharmed.

Around 20 affected residents sought shelter in a local church last night.

Witness Swenja Surminski, 34, could see flames approximately two hours after the fire brigade arrived.

She said:  “I was amazed when we saw the flames as we expected it to finish quickly.”

Kensington Fire Station Manager John Snelgrove was at the scene.

He said: “Thanks to the quick actions by our crews when they arrived, we were able to contain the fire to the ninth floor penthouse flat and the roof of the building.”

The fire crew remained at the scene for most of yesterday, but the cause of the fire is not yet known.

Ali Mohammed, 50, who lived in the building, said: “I’ve been living here for 10 years and this is the first time anything like this has happened.

“I am homeless. The damage is done.”

Adhering to current fire safety precautions could mean the difference between life and death for those with loft conversions.

Marc Moy, manager of Complete Lofts, said: “The planning laws are more important when a building is split into flats.

“Planning permission has to come into play 100%.”

Additionally Mr Moy urges anyone whose loft conversion does not adhere to current regulations to amend this as soon as possible.

According to government regulations, there must be smoke alarms in all rooms, a fire-protected stairway, adequate fireproofing such as plasterboard and escape routes.

A ConvertLofts spokesman said: “Whatever your intended use for the loft, safety must always be the primary concern, fire safety in particular.”

Fires can be harder to extinguish in loft conversions due to the often unusual layout but with the correct procedures in place, the chances of escaping a loft fire are increased.

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