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West Hampstead fire hero calls on council to fit more smoke alarms

Calls grow for Sanaz Ghanbari's bravery to be recognised with award

29 November, 2018 — By Tom Foot

Sanaz Ghanbari saved lives in the Brassey Road fire last week

A FIRE hero credited with saving several lives has called on the council to ensure smoke alarms are fitted in an estate’s communal walkways after a fatal blaze last week.

Sanaz Ghanbari, 26, said she had been overwhelmed by support after she raised the alarm and helped rescue a disabled woman and a four-month-old baby from a burning building in Brassey Road, West Hampstead last week. There have been calls for the council to recognise her bravery with an award and a special event has been planned for her on the Sidings estate.

But after one of her neighbours, Tony Good­ridge, died in his flat with his two dogs during the blaze, Ms Ghanbari said she had been plagued by sleepless nights thinking about what went wrong.

She said: “There are a lot of people talking about how I am brave and that, but I don’t want to let the main issue go. I don’t want to lose anyone else. They didn’t open their eyes about Grenfell and we lost so many people. My family live here on the estate. If Camden put fire alarms in the communal areas of the blocks I really think everyone would have survived. I think they would have woken up themselves and got out. People need to wake up before the fire brigade arrive.”

Ms Ghanbari, who went to Beckford primary school and then Hampstead, said she had tried to step back from her new-found fame on the estate.

She said: “Every time I try to sleep I picture it all, when I shut my eyes. So I’m going to see my GP, because it’s been quite hard. It’s been good that I’ve been working at Winter Wonderland because I get back after a 13-hour shift and I’m beat.”

Politicians and the public, on social media, have suggested she should be given some kind of award for her bravery.

She said: “I’ve been told the Mayor is coming down to the centre for the AGM. I’ve been going to the youth club since I was six years old, and AGMs were sort of part of growing up there. It’s a good place because children around Kilburn, they never really had much to do. We used to just give out flowers at AGMs and tell people ‘thank you for coming’, but this one is going to be totally different, I’m not looking forward to it.”

Her neighbours have backed calls for fire alarms in the communal areas. Alexandra Tsenukov, whose mother was in a wheelchair with a broken leg, was rescued by Ms Ghanbari and her sister and another man.

She said: “It doesn’t take a village to understand that it’s better to be safe than sorry and that it only takes one time to cause this much horror. “Usually we hear about heroes on the news or watch them in a movie, but it’s a whole different thing knowing one in person. But also, my neighbours, who I’ve never even seen in my life before, who took my mom in, kept her warm and safe.”

Ms Ghanbari addewd: “Usually the big city can be such a lonely place, but there is beauty in society, especially in time of need.”

Camden Council said national guidelines do not recommend fire alarms in communal areas at purpose-built blocks “provided there is effective compartmentation and means of escape”.

A Town Hall statement added: “We were deeply saddened to hear of the fatality and having assisted the emergency services with their investigations we await the fire investigation report.”


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