South Yorkshire man killed in blaze was holding phone

Scene of fatal fire at Treelands, Gawber where a man died overnight
Scene of fatal fire at Treelands, Gawber where a man died overnight
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A MAN who died in a blaze at his home was found clutching his mobile phone, firefighters have revealed.

The man, named by neighbours as Lester Ball, in his early 50s, was found slumped in his South Yorkshire home in the early hours of yesterday.

Firefighters carried him outside to paramedics, who battled to revive him, but he could not be saved.

Fire crews arrived at the blazing detached bungalow on Treelands, Gawber, Barnsley, shortly after 4am yesterday.

Neighbours spotted smoke coming from the windows and heard the sound of glass shattering in the heat.

It is thought an electrical fault with Mr Ball’s fridge caused the blaze.

He did not have any smoke alarms fitted.

Fire investigator Mick Mason said: “Alarms could have given the casualty vital minutes to get out.”

Mum-of-one Louise Masters, 35, who lives behind Mr Ball’s bungalow, said: “I heard my neighbours outside running up and down our drive and then I heard the sound of glass smashing.

“My neighbours ran round to see if there was anything they could do and I got my phone to ring 999 but then I realised the firefighters were already there.

“You just feel helpless standing there not being able to do anything to help.

“I feel shocked and saddened that somebody died. I saw the red glow in the kitchen and the firemen at the back trying to get in. It’s the sound of cracking glass I can remember too.”

A police officer stood guard outside Mr Ball’s house while firefighters and police examined the property looking for clues to help them establish what caused the blaze.

Neighbour Susan Davies, 57, said: “We all feel shocked that this has happened.

“The first we knew was when a friend rang to say they had heard about the fire on the news. We thought they must have got the wrong street because we never saw or heard anything.”

Mr Ball moved into his bungalow following the death of his mum Mavis Ball around a year ago.

He is thought to have children and enjoyed socialising in the Tom Treddlehoyle pub.

n Anyone with information should call police on 101 and quote incident number 121 of May 28.