Burwell: Woman killed after blaze sweeps through her home

The fire hit bungalow in Hawthorn Way, Burwell

The fire hit bungalow in Hawthorn Way, Burwell - Credit: Archant

A woman has died following a fire at her home on the Suffolk Cambridgeshire border.

Floral tributes outside the bungalow in Hawthorn Way, Burwell

Floral tributes outside the bungalow in Hawthorn Way, Burwell - Credit: Archant

She was found dead after flames swept through her semi detached bungalow in Burwell, on Saturday, morning.

Yesterday, villagers spoke of their shock at the tragedy which started just after 9.15am.

The victim, known locally as Melissa and thought to be in her mid to late 30s, was said to have suffered from multiple schlerosis and was in the bungalow in Hawthorn Way on her own when the fire broke out.

She lived with her daughter and her partner who nearby residents said was called Graham.

Neighbours spoke of people trying to get into the home to save the woman but they were beaten back by the flames.

Cambridgeshire police are treating the fatality as unexplained pending a forensic investigation.

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Det Sgt John Yore said: “We will be continuing our investigations but there is nothing to suggest that there has been foul play.”

Two fire crews from Newmarket and one each from Burwell, Cambridge and Soham along with a water carrier from Newmarket tackled the fire for over two hours but the flames quickly spread and the whole roof was destroyed.

Next-door neighbour Steve Brand called the incident “very frightening” as it all happened “in a matter of seconds”.

He had sat down to eat his breakfast when he heard the fire alarm go off next door.

He said: “I heard it beeping and was about to go and see what was going on and the next thing I knew was a knock on the door with a neighbour telling me ‘you’d better get out quickly’.

“Smoke was billowing everywhere and out of our loft and the flames were coming through the roof.

“I thought ours was going to go up - the flames were so huge.”

Mr Brand said that a man from across the road and a delivery man for Ridgeons had tried to get into the house.

He added: “They knocked the door in, but they just couldn’t get through to them. The smoke and fumes were too overwhelming.”

Mother-of-five Laura Watkinson, who lives opposite, said the dead woman was “a lovely lady who had a lovely daughter”.

She added: “She did not deserve what happened to her and she will be sadly missed and all her friends will stand by her partner and family.”

Mrs Watkinson said her husband Carl attended the same school as the dead woman, Bottisham Village College.

Floral tributes had started to build up outside the bunglow yesterday with one saying: “RIP, love from Helen, Steve, Charlotte, Catherine.”

Martin Brown, station commander for the Cambridgeshire Fire Service, described the fire as “very severe”.

He said crews fought the flames from the front and rear of the property but it became really intense and the roof collapsed.

“We tried to stop it from spreading to the adjacent properties as we were concerned about it getting in the attached property and jumping across the gap to the other bungalow,” he added.

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