A distraught neighbour told how a woman was ‘alight in her back garden’ last night.
Police say the death in Chadwell Heath, east London, is currently being treated as unexplained and inquiries into the cause of the fire are ongoing.
A next door neighbour confirmed they had called police last night after seeing the woman.
He said: “We have been told not to say anything by police.
“We called it in. I know the woman to say hello but not very well.
“The woman was alight in the back garden.”
An elderly neighbour across the road said the woman was possibly Sri Lankan and had separated from her husband some years ago.
She said: “She was a young girl I think in her 30s.
“I think she was Sri Lankan, English wasn’t her first language. She lived alone. She did initially come with a husband but he left.
“There was some kind of bust-up but that was years ago.
“She has a daughter, a little girl, and I would often say hello to her but I don’t think she was here last night.
“My first thought was about the little girl when I saw the blue lights but I don’t think she was in the house.”
Another neighbour said they had been doing some gardening until around 9pm last night but had not heard anything about the incident.
She said: “I was in my garden until late but didn’t hear anything.
“I didn’t hear anything and I thought I would have done if someone was on fire out the back.
“When I saw the fire engines at around midnight I just thought it was a household fire.”
A spokesperson for London Fire Brigade said: “Two fire engines and around ten firefighters were called to reports of a person alight in the rear garden of a house on Lee Avenue in Chadwell Heath yesterday evening (July 18).
“Sadly a woman was confirmed dead at the scene.
“The Brigade was called at 11.52pm on Thursday evening and the incident was over for firefighters at 0028. Crews from Dagenham fire station attended the scene.
“The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Metropolitan Police and the Brigade’s fire investigation team.”
A spokesperson for the Met Police said: “Police were called at 11.57pm on Thursday, 18 July by the LFB to a residential address in Lee Avenue, Chadwell Heath following reports of a person on fire in a rear garden.
“The fire was extinguished. A woman, aged in her 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Police are working to inform next of kin.
“The death is currently being treated as unexplained. Enquiries into the cause of the fire are ongoing.
“Officers remain at the scene.”