A resident who escaped a major fire at a kosher supermarket has described how he and his pregnant girlfriend were saved thanks to a pet dog.
Alex Gibson and Charlotte Perren were asleep in their Golders Green flat above the Kay’s store when the blaze started early on Sunday morning.
They were awakened only when Daisy, a three-year-old spaniel, started barking when their bedroom filled with thick smoke.
Mr Gibson smashed a window and later managed to escape the flat with Ms Perren, but they were unable to rescue Daisy who perished from smoke inhalation.
Mr Gibson, a 22-year-old DJ, broke his foot when he fell down a flight of stairs, and was taken to hospital.
He said: “Daisy was our hero. It was fate she happened to be staying with us that night. She saved both of our lives and our neighbours.”
The couple had been looking after the dog overnight for Mr Gibson’s mother, Sandra Carney.
She told the JC she was “devastated” at the loss of her dog, who was “part of the family”, but said she was so proud of Daisy’s life-saving actions.
Ms Carney said: “If it wasn’t for her I would also be saying goodbye to my son and his partner today. She was amazing. She died looking after them both.”
Mr Gibson paid tribute to the Jewish community who came to aid of the couple who have been left homeless by the fire.
He said: “We have lost everything. It’s all gone. All we’ve got are the clothes on our back.
“It’s been very traumatic. But the Jewish community, and the community as a whole, has really pitched in and helped us.”
Over 70 firefighters were called to the blaze at the store, on Princess Parade, off Golders Green Road, at 7.31am yesterday.
A spokesperson for the London Fire Brigade (LFB) said three people in flats above the supermarket were rescued via a ladder and a further two were led to safety by crews.
Another 25 people were led to safety before the arrival of the fire service. Six people suffering the effects of smoke inhalation were taken to hospital.
The cause of the blaze is not yet known. Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Rose, Barnet Police borough commander, said: “The LFB continue to damp down the fire and we await the assessment of the structural surveyor regarding the extent of the damage and if or how many buildings may be condemned as unsafe.
“Following the assessment of the structural surveyor, LFB fire investigation team will make their assessment as to the cause.
“Then, if appropriate we will investigate. At this time there is nothing to suggest it is suspicious but we and the LFB are keeping an open mind. The road is likely to be closed for the rest of the day.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for the victims of the blaze. Donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/Goldersgreenshopfire