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Broadstairs: Julia Brown died in Rectory Road fire

A woman who died following a house blaze yesterday evening has been named locally as Julia Brown.

She was pronounced dead at the scene after a fire ripped through her three-storey home in Rectory Road, Broadstairs.

Police confirmed this morning that a woman in her 50s had died.

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Police at the scene of the fire (2041191)
Police at the scene of the fire (2041191)

Neighbours have paid tribute to Ms Brown, who is survived by a daughter, and say it is a "terrible tragedy".

Brendan Martin, of Rectory Road, said: "The fire didn't take long to reach the second floor and then up into the roof.

"I would say it didn't take more than half-an-hour to get from top to bottom.

"Once it was going, it was a hell of a job for all the firefighters to put out.

"In fact, they had put out the ground floor and were on the second floor and the ground floor sparked off again.

"Same with the roof, they were ages up in the roof. It was just horrendous. The heat was tremendous."

Mr Martin, a former journalist, says he did not know Ms Brown well.

"She had lived here for some time but had rented the house out and had moved away and had only come back in the past 18 months or so," he said.

"I have been here about five years so I didn't really know her but others did and they said she was quite quiet, kept herself to herself.

"The road is quite sad - some knew her very well, some didn't.

"We're all a bit shell shocked.

"It's not something you expect will happen in your community, but of course it does."

Julia Brown (2041195)
Julia Brown (2041195)

Another neighbour, who has lived on the road for 18 years, said: "It's a terrible tragedy and such a shame.

"She was quite a character really. It was a beautiful house on the inside too and it was horrendous when the window blow out."

A post on the Regency Productions Facebook page paid tribute to Ms Brown saying: "It is with a heavy heart that we have learned of the passing of our long standing cast member, Julia Brown yesterday, in a tragic incident.

"Julia jumped into roles after being dragged into the theatre by her friend, Sophia and always brought laughter, fun and joy to everyone she met.

"We will remember you fondly and cherish the memories that we created together."

Another post on the site by Ben Clarke said: "Aww this is so sad to hear. Julia was a great laugh at rehearsals and always great fun to be around.

Floral tributes have been layed (2041193)
Floral tributes have been layed (2041193)

"Loved doing run Adolf run and many other shows with her.

"Love and thoughts with the family xx."

Five fire engines were sent to the house just after 6.30pm yesterday.

Fire crews used breathing apparatus, hose reel and main jets to bring the flames under control and prevent the blaze from spreading to neighbouring properties.

Police closed the road while emergency services dealt with the incident.

Ms Brown's next of kin have been informed and a report is being prepared for the coroner.

Investigations into the cause of the fire are ongoing.

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