Tributes to Heacham fire station campaigner Tracey Swann who died in house blaze
- Credit: Archant
Ms Swann, who was in her 50s, died as flames tore through her terrace property in Caley Street last night.
Ms Swann, who worked at a nearby doctor's surgery, had led the successful campaign to save Heacham fire station from closure earlier this year.
Group manager Tim Edwards, from Norfolk fire service, tweeted: 'It is difficult to convey my shock and sadness following the death of Ms Swann due to the fire last night in Heacham.
'My thoughts are with her family, friends and my crew from Heacham, who knew her so well.'
As villagers gathered to remember Ms Swann at St Mary's Church tonight, a rainbow lit up the evening sky.
Vicar the Rev Veronica Wilson said the occasion was not a service, but a chance to remember by lighting candles and saying prayers.
'She's going to be sorely missed,' she said. 'She was part of the wider church community. She did readings at Christms, she was very supportive of the church, she ran the youth group. Our prayers are not just with her but also with the fire service.'
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Ms Swann was also a parish councillor and organiser of the Heacham Carnival. Friend Sue Hall said: 'She was such a beautiful person in every way , she helped lots of people, ironically it was through her fighting support and determination that the Heacham fire station didn't get closed down. She will be truly missed as she touched so many people's lives.'
Part of Caley Street remains cordoned off, as fire investigators, police and surveyors began their investigation into the cause of the tragedy.
Station officer Jonathan Wilby, from Norfolk fire service, said: 'We are very saddened at the loss of life. I want to praise the crews who were here last night at the scene, who were carrying out an offensive attack to try to save a life.
'What we will do now is a fire investigation, along with our partners from crime scenes investigation, CID and building control, we will work together to ascertain the cause and origin of the fire.
'At the moment we can't rule anything out or in. We will look at all potential hypotheses.
'This is likely to go on all day today and into the early part of next week. We will do all we can to establish the cause and origin, we will leave no stone unturned.'
The fire, which is believed to have started in the ground floor of the house, quickly spread upstairs. But dividing walls between the house and neighbouring properties helped to slow the spread of the flames, as crews used hose reel jets to fight the blaze.
Mr Wilby said two dogs were rescued from the property. He added a risk assessment would have to be carried out before work could begin inside.
A Norfolk police spokesman said: 'The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, however the building remains unstable at this time and a police cordon is in place. A structural survey of the property will be carried out before the scene can be declared safe for investigators.'
Flowers have been placed outside the house, which was gutted by the fire, and the fire station on nearby Station Road.
Devastated villagers took to social media to pay tribute, sharing their grief on facebook as the news of Tracey Swann's death rocked Heacham.
Emma-Rose Hooker posted: 'Thinking of Tracey Swann today, her hard work and generosity saved Heacham Fire Station and now we know just how important that little Station is. Bless her family and our brave local firefighters too.'
Libby Wood added: 'Once again it shows how important our local stations and crews are. Thanks for all you do and have done. A very sad day.'
Lizzie Liddington said: 'You have had some awful shouts but this must have been very high on the list. I am sure she would have thankful that you tried your very best for her as are we all.'
Debbie Edwards added: 'My thoughts are with you all at this very sad time. My condolences to Tracey's family. Rip very special lady.'
Colin Toule posted: 'My eyes fill with unsheddable tears. So very sorry.'
Graham Reader said: 'Such sad news this morning, my thoughts are with the family and the fire crews.'
Liz Richards posted: 'What dreadful news, she will be sorely missed.'
Sarah Coote added: 'I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Tracey Swann, such remarkable lady and a force to be reckoned with, I have met with Tracey through her youth club work and was always amazed by her community drive and sheer hard work for all the amazing work she did. Such a terrible loss to the people of Heacham and the groups she volunteered for.'