Close-knit community 'to support each other' after woman and cats die in house fire

Residents are coming together to support each other after a house fire killed a woman and three cats at a bungalow.

The woman and cats died in the fire on Tuesday night
The woman and cats died in the fire on Tuesday night

Fire crews from Cannock, Rugeley and Stafford were called to Gorseburn Way, Rugeley, just after 10.45pm on Tuesday where they found the blaze at the single-storey home.

A woman, in her 60s, along with three cats were discovered dead at the property.

The day after the fatal fire, neighbours recalled what had happened.

Carol Preston said: "I'd not met her, but I know she moved in about three or four weeks ago, then went to hospital after a fall a few weeks ago.

"We first knew there was a problem when we saw all the fire engines and flashing lights, and my son came and told me there was trouble.

"Her neighbour then rang 999 and we went out and just saw pandemonium and it was terrible to see.

"I feel a bit emotional about it, and I really feel for her daughter as she'd moved her up here from London, and she was getting care four days a week."

Another neighbour, who didn't want to be named: "I heard a beeping noise next door and then a crash and then one of the cats meowing. I did try and call my neighbour because I'd got a phone number, but there was no reply.

"Someone went out and had a look at the back and I saw smoke coming out of the back bedroom window, no flames, just smoke, so I called 999. I then had a look at the front and the windows up front were all black."

She also praised the fire service for getting to the scene quickly and providing a "marvellous service", with the fire out within 30 minutes of their arrival.

"They've been into everybody's house and check their fire alarms," the neighbour added.

"They've fitted fire alarms if they wanted one and they've left everybody information about fire safety that the police have been round and they've been really supportive. And I think they've done a smashing job."

A third neighbour, who heard the noise and saw the fire engines outside, added: "We hadn't met her, but we met her son and wished him well, so it's terribly sad to know she's died.

"We're a close-knit community, so we'll all be here to support each other."

West Midlands Ambulance Service said in a statement: "We were called by the fire service at 10.46pm to reports of a property fire off Crabtree Way, Rugeley. An ambulance and paramedic officer attended.

"Sadly, one woman was confirmed deceased on scene."

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service used two breathing apparatus, one hose reel jet and a positive pressure ventilator to put out the flames by 11.10pm.

Police said the woman's next of kin had been informed, and officers remained at the scene while inquiries continue.

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