AN ELDERLY woman has died and another woman is in hospital after a fire at an old Deptford cafe this morning.

Firefighters were called to a blaze in a shop converted into flats in Deptford High Street at around 1.30am.

They rescued the elderly woman from the ground floor of the building, formerly Lou's Cafe, but she later died at the scene.

The woman was named locally today as Mrs Fazzani, an Italian woman who used to run the family-owned cafe before it closed several years ago.

Her family were at the scene this morning but were too distressed to talk. The top of the high street off Creek Road was cordoned off while forensics carried out investigations.

Neighbour John Whittaker, 54, said the cafe had closed at least 20 years ago and had always been a community hub.

He said: "It's tragic, absolutely tragic.

"She's been here for as long as I can remember and you'd sometimes see her out on her scooter.

"My heart goes out to the family."

Edward Hughes, aged 79, of Edward Street said: "The woman who lived there was in a wheelchair and she had crutches.

"She had that shop since I was a kid."

A second woman was rescued by firefighters using a ladder from a flat on the second floor and she was taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

Firefighters had the blaze under control within an hour.

Six fire engines, 35 firefighters and officers from Deptford, Greenwich, Lewisham, New Cross, Old Kent Road and East Greenwich fire stations attended the incident.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the London Fire Brigade’s fire investigation team and the Met Police.

New Cross fire station could be closed under plans by Mayor of London Boris Johnson.