Update: Woman who dies in Banbury house blaze is named
An elderly woman who died in last night’s house fire in St Hugh’s Close, Banbury, has been named as 88-year-old Anne Pickett.
Emergency services were called to the sheltered housing accommodation at about 6.45pm yesterday (Tuesday) and found the property well alight on their arrival.
Mrs Pickett was found by fire crews who made several unsuccessful attempts to revive her at the scene.
Phil Freeman, 79, who lives next door with his wife Jean, 78, called the emergency services.
“I had been in the kitchen to make us some sandwiches and I could smell a plastic smell, so I thought I had left the cooker on – but then the smell got stronger so I went outside and I could see a lot of black smoke coming out of the house.
“I kicked on the the door and called ‘Anne’ but there was no response. Then the smoke got too much for me so I had to go back and call 999.”
Police and fire teams remain on the scene this morning (Wednesday) as investigations into the cause of the blaze continue – but officers have confirmed the blaze, in the living room, is not being treated as suspicious.
Mr and Mrs Freeman’s daughter, Pauline Baggaley, said her and her husband Ian were concerned about the safety of her mother, who is in a wheelchair after suffering a brain haemorrhage.
Mr Baggaley, who knew Mrs Pickett all his life, said she used to live in Grimsbury where she worked as a taxi driver with her husband Dennis prior to his death about 25 years ago.
“She used to be a very stylish woman,” he added.
Jim Davies, Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue service station manager, said: “The premises were fairly smoke filled. Two teams of two went into the property wearing breathing apparatus and using thermal imaging cameras, and were able to bring the lady out.
“The fire was contained in one room.
“A full search undertaken at the time confirmed nobody else was missing on the premises.
“The victim has not yet been formally identified but next of kin have been informed and a post mortem is expected to take place later today.”
The bungalow property is owned by Sanctuary Housing and is one of ten households in the cul-de-sac.
Christa Ripley, local head of housing operations for Sanctuary, said: “We are doing all we can to assist Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service in their investigations, and our thoughts are with her family and friends.”
For the full story, see tomorrow’s Banbury Guardian.
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Weather for Banbury
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 4 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North west