20 June 2024

‘We’ve lost everything in house fire’

The daughter of a woman who died in a house fire in Withernsea has paid tribute to her “caring and compassionate” mother and issued a plea for the local community to help after her family had “lost everything”.

Overnight on March 11, emergency services were called to the blaze in Bannister Street, which spread to three properties and caused severe damage to their upper floors and roofs.

Despite the best efforts of firefighters, Melanie Aisbett, 62, died in the fire, while her husband John, 70, was taken to hospital, where he remains after suffering from burns and the effects of smoke inhalation.

Their daughter Rebecca Aisbett, 39, said: “Our lives are in tatters. I have lost my darling mum, and my dad has lost his wife, his home, and all of his possessions and clothing.

“We now need to try to somehow rebuild our lives without my mum and start from the beginning.”

Rebecca said she wanted the community to know that her mother was more than just a casualty of a house fire – she was her “best friend” who would “do anything for anyone”.

She said: “She was so caring and compassionate – she’d be the first there if there was anyone who needed help.”

Melanie had also helped save the life of her husband, Rebecca added, as she shouted to him to get out of the house as the fire took hold – but, tragically, she became trapped as the roof collapsed and was unable to follow him.

Rebecca added that Melanie had given up her later life to be a carer for John, who has vascular dementia, for many years. The couple, who moved to Withernsea from Wakefield in 2016, had been married for 44 years.

As Rebecca has multiple sclerosis, she was thankful of the “fantastic” support of her mother.

She added: “My mum was a bit of a hermit crab – she didn’t go out a lot, but everybody knows my dad. He’s very sociable.

“I’m trying to appeal to people to get some help for him. He’s literally been left with his pyjamas and a few socks. I’m also really worried about the funeral costs.”

Rebecca’s friend, Christina, has created a GoFundMe fundraiser to help with funeral costs as well as a memorial plaque in Melanie’s name. Any more money raised will go towards helping John rebuild his life.

Christina wrote: “Please donate what you can and help regain what this family has lost. Thank you all in advance for all your help and support in this tragic time.”

There will be an inquest in due course, which Rebecca hopes will give her some answers.

She said: “There are only two people who knew what happened that night, and unfortunately the one that’s left suffers with dementia. There are still a lot of unanswered questions. We’ve still not had the police or fire report yet. The inquest will likely take place between four months and up to a year from now.”

To donate to the GoFundMe, visit gofund.me/9f8fb84d.

Anyone who would like to donate clothes – particularly men’s, sized medium-large – or other essential items can drop them off at the Gazette office in Seaside Road, Withernsea, and we will pass them on to the family.