Pensioner perishes in fire

Brave neighbours battled in vain to pull their elderly friend through a window of his blazing bungalow yesterday after he told them “It's too late”.Charlie Carter, who was in his 70s, died in the fire which broke out at his semi-detached bungalow in Necton Road, Little Dunham, at about 2am.

Brave neighbours battled in vain to pull their elderly friend through a window of his blazing bungalow yesterday after he told them “It's too late”.

Charlie Carter, who was in his 70s, died in the fire which broke out at his semi-detached bungalow in Necton Road, Little Dunham, at about 2am.

John Poole, 58, told how he and fellow neighbour Roddy Murphy tried to pull the one-armed pensioner through the bathroom window, desperately fighting pungent smoke and searing heat.

He said: “I tried to break the front door down but as I did the bedroom window exploded out beside me.

“He was in the bathroom. We put step ladders inside and outside to get him out, I had hold of his hand and Roddy had hold of him round the waist.

“He kept saying 'It's too late, I'm going, I'm going', he had given up.

Most Read

“Roddy had to let go because of the intense heat and the smoke got too much for us.

“It just keeps going through my mind again and again.”

Mr Murphy suffered from smoke inhalation and was given oxygen at the scene.

Three fire crews from Swaffham, Dereham and Massingham spent four hours at the bungalow and used a thermal imaging camera and breathing apparatus but were also unable to reach Mr Carter before he died.

Yesterday police and investigators and forensic scientists from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service were examining the bungalow and will continue their inquiry today.

All that remained of the roof were a few tiles and charred timber struts, with a blackened hole where the bedroom window was, its walls scorched to the concrete and the ashes of furniture piled in the front garden.

The fire is believed to have started in the bedroom and Mr Carter's body was found in bathroom but police are not treating the incident as suspicious.

Mr Carter had lived in the village for about 10-years and he is believed to have an elderly sister and brother, who live in the Watton area.

Neighbour said they had often helped him with minor chores and that he had recently started using elbow crutches.

Mr Poole said: “He was a nice old chap, I used to cut his grass and get shopping for him on the weekend.”

Kathleen Bishop, 72, said: “He was a nice old boy and I feel terribly shocked, it is an awful way to go.

“I just woke up to the sound like rapid gunshots going off and got up to see the street alight with flashing sirens, it was shocking and scary.”

Another neighbour Jeffery Edge, 77, said: “I have known him ever since he had been here. I feel really bad, this has really upset me.”

Fire service spokesman Martin Barsby said: “It was an intense fire. It is a tragedy at any time of the year but at this time it is always more poignant.”

He said anyone concerned about fire safety in their homes can get a free home risk assessment check.

The contact number for the community fire safety team is 0800 9178137.