AN ELDERLY woman has died in a fire at a block of flats in South Croydon.
Firefighters found the woman while tackling flames in a flat in Oakfield Court in Pampisford Road, South Croydon, at 10.18am today (December 31).
Crews wearing breathing apparatus escorted a woman to safety from a different flat in the block who was treated at the scene for shock by paramedics from London Ambulance Service.
Andrew Williams, 48, has lived in Oakfield Court, opposite St Giles School, for 17 years and was home when neighbours became aware of the blaze. He said residents were able to stay in their flats but were ready to leave if they needed to.
"We saw black smoke coming out of the vent of the flat," said Mr Williams. "We called for the fire brigade; they were here within minutes.
"All the residents are shocked. It was traumatic, everyone heard the alarm going off and smelt the smoke.
"The fire brigade were superb with how they dealt with it. The residents were all very impressed with the response of the emergency services, they were sensational."
It took crews from four fire engines from Croydon, Purley, Woodside and Wallington stations an hour to bring the flames under control.
Police also went to the incident, which a spokeswoman said is not believed to be suspicious.
She added the woman's next of kin have not yet been informed of her death and enquiries are ongoing.
Half of a flat on the second floor was damaged. London Fire Brigade said the cause of the fire is under investigation.