21 June 2024

‘Everyone has been so amazing to us’

by Rebecca Hannant

Members of the Withernsea community have come together to support those affected by a fire that badly damaged three houses.

On March 11, at about 1.40am, emergency services were called to the fire in Bannister Street, near the East Yorkshire bus depot. Three properties were caught in the blaze, which caused severe damage to the upper floors and roofs. A woman in one of the houses was later confirmed dead.

Among those whose lives have been turned upside-down by the fire are Lin and Will Wilson, who had only recently moved to the area, having bought their Bannister Street home in November 2022.

Lin said: “I was woken up by crackling and the sound of tiles failing. At first, I thought the TV was very loud, but then I thought, ‘That is not a film.’

“I got up and went to the rear of the house, and as I walked past the bathroom I could see flames coming out of the back bedroom window. I went back into the bedroom and woke my husband up and told him to get out because there was a fire.

“We went outside, and lots of people were coming out. The fire service arrived. My husband was screaming while trying to get the next-door neighbours out. Another fire engine then came. We then saw the neighbour’s roof turn bright red and go into ours. My husband was upset, and a neighbour came round and hugged him. I saw my bedroom at the front was on fire, and I broke down into tears.”

People in the local area were quick to come together to support the Wilsons, and others affected by the fire, with donations and friendly support.

Lin added: “We have been inundated with people from Withernsea bringing clothes and offering hugs. A couple of friends asked me what I needed. I told them I needed a drink, and the toilet. We went round to their house all night and we chatted.

“People in shops have helped, and when I have been in to get some clothes, they have just told me I can take it. I was fixated on the fact that I had no bras! A kind man bought me one. Everyone has been so amazing. The Alexandra Hotel where we have been staying has been fantastic.”

Among the properties severely damaged in the fire were offices used by East Yorkshire buses, which declined to comment.

A statement released by Humberside Fire and Rescue confirmed that a woman had been fatally injured with another man being treated at hospital. Investigations remain ongoing to determine the cause of the fire.

The statement said: “Fire in domestic dwelling which spread to adjacent properties.

Firefighters utilised two short extension ladders, three main jets, three hose reels, multiple thermal imaging cameras, 12 breathing apparatus and multiple small tools.

“Firefighters rescued one 70-year-old male from building. Adult male treated for shock by firefighters and taken to hospital by ambulance. One adult female fatally injured. Property 100 per cent fire damaged and roof collapsed. Water and debris damage to remainder of addresses. It is unknown if smoke alarms were fitted in addresses.”

A statement by Humberside Police at the time of the incident said: “Emergency services worked to extinguish the fire and get the occupants out of the building. Sadly, despite their efforts, a woman was pronounced deceased within the address.”