A former X Factor contestant has said she is “lucky to be alive” after the Hounslow block of flats where she has lived for the past 15 years caught on fire.
A total of 35 firefighters and officers, including six fire engines, were called to a fire in the flats on the Redwood Estate at just before 9am on Thursday (June 21).
One first floor flat was completely destroyed in the blaze, while one man managed to get out of the flat before fire crews arrived, and was treated at the scene by London Ambulance Service (LAS) paramedics.
Videos taken by onlookers show flames and a huge amount of thick smoke pouring out from the flat, while smoke could also be seen billowing across the capital.
Talia Dean, who appeared in the live finals of X Factor 2017, has lived in the same second floor flat for 15 years, but is currently in the process of moving to Surrey with her partner and two-year-old son.
The 32-year-old, who was eliminated in week one of the live shows, finishing in 15th place, has already handed her keys back to the landlord so wasn’t in the flat at the time of the blaze, but was in shock when speaking exclusively to Get West London.
She said: “I’m speechless and completely shocked. I feel like I have an angel on my shoulder. It could have ended so differently.
“I would not have had an escape route. I just feel so, so lucky as that would have been us dead.
“When I spoke to the fire brigade, because we haven’t finished the move it’s my name on the document still, they told me ‘if you was in there you wouldn’t be talking to us right now’.
“Not only because of the fire damage but because of the smoke. I would have died."
Fire crews from Feltham, Heathrow, Hayes and Southall fire stations were all called to the block of flats at 8.51am, with the London Fire Brigade (LFB) 999 control room receiving 13 calls to the fire.
The fire was under control little under an hour later.
Singer and songwriter Talia lived above the flat which was completely destroyed in the blaze, and was told by fire crews that one of her former home’s bedrooms, previously used by her young son, has been “completely burnt out”.
Following the news of the fire, Talia had “about 40 missed calls” from worried family and friends, as well as countless messages on social media asking if she was alright, due to many not knowing she is moving home.
“I am welling up as I am saying it as it was my home for 15 years,” she added. “I am moving to Surrey now but that was the last part of my journey and now it’s gone.
“I always imagined I would go back and visit my first ever home and I won’t be able to do that now.
“I spent a lot of my time there, had my first child there and had all of the X Factor stuff filmed there. It was my first ever home and I was there for 15 years and it’s sad.
“But I’m so grateful I wasn’t there as I’m still going back and forth to sort stuff out. But I feel sorry for the people that would have had my lovely little flat.”
The singer also sent her best wishes to the man who was injured in the fire, who she knew well due to him living directly beneath her.
“Apparently he is really burnt and he is only an old man – probably in his 70s,” she explained.
“It’s such a shame as we are such a tight community and I know all of my neighbours and they all know me.
“Everybody wished me well when I left and I have seen people come and go but I just feel so, so lucky. I could have been burned alive with my baby and partner.”
While glad to be alive, Talia said she decided to move out of Hounslow because the area “wasn’t safe”, and wants to see the block of flats reviewed for his fire safety.
In 2008 the same block of flats was severely damaged by fire, killing one of Talia’s pets at the time.
She said: “I have lived there for 15 years and I have had two stabbings on the estate, two cars stolen, the first major fire in 2008 and now this one.
“Because of that I wanted to get out as quick as possible as the area wasn’t very safe.”
LFB has said the cause of the fire is not known at this stage.
To see how the fire unfolded take a look at our live blog here .