Elderly man dies in Islington house fire
Raymond Lister, who was 86-years-old, has died in Islington following a house fire in the early hours of this morning. Firefighters attended the scene at Ripplevale Grove, Barnsbury, shortly after midnight. The London Fire Brigade confirmed he was pronounced dead at the scene. Part of the first floor was damaged by the blaze.
Mr Lister, a retired print setter who previously worked at The Times, had been living at the property since the 1970s and lived alone. His neighbour Etienne Tegtmeier broke down the front door after smelling smoke and told the Islington Gazette: “We knocked the door down, got into the house and called up to him but there was no answer. By that time, there was lots of smoke so we called 999. They did CPR on him for about 45 minutes outside.”
Firefighters from Euston, Holloway, Islington and Shoreditch fire stations were at the incident, the cause of the fire is under investigation.
This tragedy comes just a week after City Hall voted against London fire engine cuts, as firefighters wait for the Mayor of London’s final decision. The vote sparked a debate on what the best way would be to axe £11m from London Fire Brigade’s 2016/2017 budget.
Last month, Jennette Arnold OBE AM urged Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest residents to voice their opinions over changes to local fire services. This follows the London Fire Brigades’ consultation to decide what to do about the Mayor’s budget cut demands. Figures show that Islington would be among the worst hit for response times if the fire engine at Holloway was scrapped in the 2016/17 budget.
There are two options on the table for local people to choose from. The first was put forward by Andrew Dismore AM, Chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority’s Resource Committee. This option would focus on back office efficiencies and changing working patterns so that the 13 engines would be returned. The second plan would be that the fire engines currently out of use would be decommissioned permanently.
The Mayor is expected to make his decision by March 17th but it’s possible that a final decision won’t be made on this until after the mayoral elections in May later this year.
In the Fire Service consultation press release, Jennette Arnold said: “If you take fire engines out of service then of course response times could rise and lives could be put at risk. Nobody wants to see that happen.”
For the full press release, visit here.