Grandad killed in Christmas house fire tragedy

Scene of the fatal house fire in Castle Hill, Eckington.
Scene of the fatal house fire in Castle Hill, Eckington.
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A GRANDFATHER has been killed in a house fire despite frantic attempts to revive him by neighbours including his son-in-law, writes Richard Marsden.

The man died at his home on Castle Hill, Eckington, on Christmas Day evening, in the third fatal blaze over the festive period.

The tragedy comes after two people were killed in separate blazes on Christmas Eve.

Firefighters today repeated their plea for households to ensure they have functioning smoke alarms after they revealed none of the three homes are believed to have had working alarms.

A Derbyshire Police spokeswoman said: “Neighbours of the man, who was 79-years-old, saw smoke coming from his house at about 9pm last night.

“The neighbour and the man’s son-in-law got into the house and found him lying on the floor. They dragged him out and began to resuscitate him in the garden. Paramedics continued the resuscitation but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

“A joint investigation will be carried out by the police and fire service but the man’s death is not being treated as suspicious at this stage.”

Shocked relatives of the Eckington man, who live on the same street, were too upset to comment about the tragedy.

But one neighbour said: “He was a lovely, lovely man. It’s a close-knit community around here and he was well-known. People are very upset about what has happened.”

Investigations are taking place at the semi-detached house to establish the cause of the fire but it is not thought to be suspicious.

It is believed the man was overcome by the smoke.

Temporary Watch Manager Gavin Marathalingam, of Derbyshire Fire Service, said: “There were two smoke alarms fitted at the house but it is not believed they were working. We would urge anyone who has them fitted to check that the are functioning and for people who do not have alarms to get them fitted.”

He added: “The fire was relatively small and in the kitchen but there was one fatality, a gentleman in his 80s.

“Three appliances attended, two from Derbyshire and one from Mosborough. An investigation is continuing into the cause but it is not believed to be suspicious.”

The fire, at 9pm on Christmas Day, follows two blazes in the early hours of Christmas Eve, one in a flat and another which gutted a terraced house.

Firefighters were first called out to a complex of flats in Cantley, Doncaster, where a man in his 40s and his dog were found dead after crews had to break in.

The flat was not believed to have had a working smoke alarm.

And a 65-year-old woman, named by neighbours as Norma Sweeney, was killed in a ‘very significant fire’ which completely destroyed a house on Mary Street, Whaley Thorns, between Chesterfield and Worksop.

Her husband Bob, daughter and a friend, who had all been asleep in the house, managed to escape by jumping out of an upstairs window, while one of them fled through the front door.