An investigation into the cause of a blaze that claimed the life of an elderly woman is ongoing.
Firefighters raced to the home of Elizabeth Blacker in Darley Road on Sunday afternoon but she died at the scene, despite attempts to save her.
One neighbour told the Herald how the ‘smoke was horrendous’ and that her husband and another man tried to get into the property as the blaze took hold.
The neighbour added, “We saw the smoke and thought it was a barbecue until my husband went to check and realised it was coming out of the windows.”
The pair were able to get into the garage but by that time the fire brigade were on the scene.
The neighbour added, “They wanted everybody off site and they were excellent.
“It’s very sad.”
Firefighters were alerted at 1.50pm to smoke coming from the property and three fire crews from Eastbourne and Pevensey were sent to the property to tackle the blaze in the first floor bedroom.
A full search of the property was carried out by six firefighters wearing breathing apparatus who used two hose reels and foam to tackle the fire.
Mrs Blacker was rescued by the team but was unresponsive and despite efforts by the fire service and ambulance personnel to resuscitate her she died at the scene.
The fire crews remained at the scene until approximately 8pm and Mrs Blacker’s family was informed of her death.
A spokesperson for East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service said, “The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.
“It is currently not being treated as suspicious.”
One neighbour described Mrs Blacker, who is understood to have attended St John’s Church in Meads, as a ‘lovely lady’.
She said neighbours had been left ‘traumatised’ by her death, adding, “She was a lovely lady, a really nice person.
“She’s been my neighbour the whole time I have been here. She and her husband George – who died about five years ago – were a lovely couple.”
The property is situated opposite St Andrew’s Prep School and headmaster Simon Severino issued this statement, “St Andrew’s Prep was very shocked to hear of the fire and the subsequent death of a close neighbour in Meads.
“Our thoughts are with Mrs Blaker’s family at this very sad time.”
Local crews from Eastbourne will be in the area offering free fire safety advice, undertaking home safety visits and, where appropriate, fitting smoke alarms to surrounding properties.