Late Wednesday (3.10.12) night I was driving to Tesco in Kensington to stock up for the imminent arrival of mummy and daddy Londonist when I was stopped short on Holland Park Road by about 10 fire engines, lots of official looking cordons and, of course, *those* men in uniform. Stealing my eyes away from the
firemen road, which having learned to drive in the country, I’ve discovered you can’t do in London for a second, I noticed that a high rise was on fire. The flames were bursting through the roof but thankfully the lower levels appeared to be alright. The fire engines were lined up next to the building with ladders stretching up to the roof and you could just make out a fireman perched precariously at the top holding his hose (ha) trying in vain to tame the flames. The fire started at 7pm and this was now 3 hours later. Mr Londonist and I watched in horror as the flames created new escape routes through the roof and a side window which by this point had smoke and steam billowing out of it like something from a movie. The picture was taken before the flames really set in but unfortunately, those taken with my iPhone didn’t stand up to the challenge of shooting in the darkness.
We learned that it was in fact the Welsh singer-songwriter Duffy’s penthouse apartment. Zoopla published pictures of the apartment before the blaze which comes complete with an indoor pool, cinema and two terraces: http://blog.zoopla.co.uk/2012/10/04/exclusive-pictures-of-duffys-flat-before-the-fire/ The singer fled her £12 million home with her 2 cats and dog looking a bit dazed. A neighbour gave her a cup of coffee while she frantically searched for her 2nd cat Felix who’d done a runner. The police managed to calm her down when they arrived and a friend found Felix hiding under a white van. So while the “Smoke without fire” singer and the other residents were all safe and well, neighbours said that the singer also had pet goldfish who weren’t quite so lucky. It took over 60 firefighters more than 6 hours to battle the fire into submission and fire crews were still dampening down the building the next morning.
We re-programmed our sat nav and found another route to Tesco hypothesising about what we’d take with us if that happened to our place…