Grandmother loses life in Herstmonceux house blaze

The scene of the fire

The scene of the fire

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A GRANDMOTHER has been killed in a fierce house fire in Herstmonceux.

More than 20 firefighters battled the blaze in West End but were unable to save the woman, who has been named locally as Audrey Harris.

Neighbours fled their homes at around 2pm on Wednesday of last week and as watched fire crews Hailsham, Battle and Bexhill managed to contain the intense fire.

Kate McCully, who was in one of the adjacent homes to the blaze, told the Gazette, “At 2pm I got a knock from one of neighbours who told me to get out of the house

“There was black smoke billowing from the house and it looked quite bad.

“The fire brigade had been called but they hadn’t arrived at that time.

The door was open and someone had tried to get into the house but the flames and the smoke were too much.

“The front window had just collapsed in on itself, and there was smoke billowing out of windows, the chimney, the front door and vents at the side of the house.”

Neighbours also reported hearing a loud explosion from the front room of the house and said the damage to the room indicated that was where the blaze begun.

The firefighters arrived at about 2.10pm and managed to get Mrs Harris out of the house but she died at the scene.

It is understood Mrs Harris was in her 80s and lived in the house with her husband Phil.

Sussex Police kept an officer outside the property overnight and fire accident investigators were at the house on Thursday afternoon.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has not yet said how the fire was started but Sussex Police has confirmed it is not being treated as suspicious, describing it as a “desperately sad incident”.