CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

West Hampstead fire: Face of hero who saved baby from blaze

Brave woman ran towards burning building to rescue neighbours from deadly blaze

22 November, 2018 — By Tom Foot

Sanaz Ghanbari

“SHE saved my baby’s life, she is a hero.”

These were the words a father used this week to describe a young woman who helped save his four-month-old tot from their burning council block. Tragically, the blaze at the Sidings Estate in Brassey Road, West Hampstead, in the early hours of Monday, claimed the life of a middle-aged man, named locally as Tony Goodridge, and his two dogs on the top floor.

But more deaths were prevented because of the bravery of Sanaz Ghanbari, who was this week hailed as a “genuine hero” for charging towards the fire to warn her neighbours.

The 26-year-old told the New Journal: “I got up to the third floor and tried to kick open Tony’s door. But it was getting too hot, the handle was burning my hand. Then I heard screaming: ‘My mum, here, she can’t get down.’ There was smoke everywhere. I shouted out to wait, I was coming, and with her daughter we grabbed one arm each and picked her up. She was in a lot of pain but I said to her ‘I’m sorry, we just need to get you out’.”

Former Hampstead School pupil Ms Ghanbari, who has lived in the area almost all her life, started a new job at the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park yesterday (Wednesday). She said: “I’ve been checked out and I’m alright, but when I was coughing there was some blood coming out. I’ve been so tired since – I’ve just been sleeping most of the time.”

Sanaz Ghanbari

Amid the confusion, she was also described as a life-saver for waking up Thomas Dalton, his partner and their baby Nancy by shouting and banging.

Thomas Dalton and baby Nancy

Mr Dalton said: “She has saved my daughter’s life. Me and my missus’ life. She saved so many people’s lives – I just wanted her to know how grateful I am. “A lot of people would say they would do the same, but I think if I’m honest, I would be hesitant. I know she is upset because of what happened to Tony and we all are, but it could have been so much worse.”

He added: “I guess you summon the strength at times like that. We were all asleep and I heard this banging and buzzing and, to be honest, I was angry and thinking, what’s going on? Then I hear ‘get out, there’s a fire’. She must have got in through buzzing and banging.”

Around 40 firefighters tackled the blaze for more than two hours

“The smoke was starting to come through,” said Mr Dalton. “I didn’t clock it straight away. My missus grabbed the child. We covered her face up – it’s probably not so bad for adults but one gulp of that smoke at four months could be really bad. “I didn’t have time to get dressed, I was standing outside in my boxers talking to people I’ve never spoken to before. My head was all over the place, I was wondering if I was dreaming.”

Mr Dalton added: “For me, the worst thing is the fact when you are asleep you are at your most vulnerable and that something like that can happen so quickly.”

The fire in Brassey Road

Ms Ghanbari and other residents have told the New Journal no fire alarms were sounding during the fire rescue and she has called on the council to “open their eyes” and “make changes”. Many neighbours have described Mr Goodridge as a quiet man who liked to walk his dogs out on the green in the centre of the estate. The Sidings Community Centre threw open its doors in the middle of the night as a refuge. It is believed Mr Goodridge had two dogs that also died in the fire.

A Camden Council statement said: “We were deeply saddened to hear of this fatality and having assisted the emergency services with their investigations we await the fire investigation report.” Three flats in the building have been impacted by the fire and those households have either been offered temporary accommoda­tion or provided with advice and support.

A statement from the London Fire Brigade said: “The cause of the fire is under investigation.”

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