A woman has described the horrific moment she watched four of her six cats die when a fire ripped through her London home.
Heather Lennox’s cats, Mercury, Fairbairn, Jupiter and Sykes, were all killed after blaze engulfed her council flat in Camden just before Chirstmas.
The 52-year-old was left clutching her two remaining pets, Minerva and Blades, as she watched her home of 28 years and everything in it go up in flames.
Heather lost her mother’s ashes to the fire but her main concern has been her pets. She told Metro.co.uk: ‘It’s been very traumatic. I could not celebrate Christmas or New Year. Two of my cats were taken away like rubbish and put in a bag. They were my family members.
‘There could have been a rubbish tip the size of Eustion station and I would have kept searching for them.
‘I don’t know how long it is going to be until I can start a new life with my two remaining cats.’
She recalled: ‘I crawled across the flat to the living room window with the fire raging behind me and opened the window, hoping to give my other cats at least one more chance to find an exit.
‘By then the fire brigade arrived and ordered me out. I stood at the bottom of the building with my neighbours and watched a fireball explode out of my flat. Knowing my cats were in there, my heart just broke.’
Heather said she had to search through her charred belongings to recover them and get them cremated.
She only found the last cat’s body three weeks after the fire. Her nine-year-old goldfish also perished.
Heather said she is still suffering the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning after spending around 10 minutes inhaling toxic smoke as she desperately tried to save her pets.
The fire has also left her traumatised and she has visions where the room she is in becomes full of smoke.
Heather added: ‘The place is just a mountain of ashes. It’s very surreal standing in a room covered in soot black walls, looking at piles of all the things that made your house a home now melted into a big ball.
‘I miss my cats terribly. I feel hopeful for the two I pulled out of that fire. Running into a fire to rescue your loved ones is a life-changing experience, the world around looks so much softer.’
She is expecting to wait up to a year for Camden Council to find her a new home and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help her buy a desk and new sewing machine.
So far over £7,000 has been raised.
A Camden Council spokesperson said: ‘We are here to support Ms Lennox in any way that we can following the fire in Waxham and the devastating loss of her home and her pets.
‘We have been able to offer Ms Lennox a move to a void property in her building and our Repairs team are working hard to bring that property up to the standard that we expect for our tenants as soon as possible.
‘In the meantime, we are continuing to provide temporary accommodation for Ms Lennox and support with the cost of moving. Where it is possible for us to do so, we will always seek to offer temporary accommodation that supports residents to feel settled and remain close to their community.
‘We are also working to repair the significant fire damage in Ms Lennox’s home. Initial inspections by council officers found the windows had been blown out by the fire and that the property needed to be made secure to protect Ms Lennox’s possessions, as well as her and her neighbours’ homes from water damage.
‘To access the windows some items needed to be briefly moved from the property. An inventory of these items was being taken when work ceased at the request of Ms Lennox.
‘We remain in contact with Ms Lennox about the concerns she has raised about her belongings.’
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