Man, 81, dies in Egton blaze
A man in his eighties was found dead in a tragic house fire at Egton.
An investigation is still ongoing to determine whether the man, who police have still not yet formally identified, died as a result of the fire or something else.
Whitby fire crews found the man within 15 minutes of entering the burning building in a downstairs room, but he had already died.
They then spent two hours searching the property for his wife in what they said was one of the most challenging incidents they have ever dealt with.
There was a car on fire on the drive, ammunition going off due to the heat, gas cylinders in danger of exploding, limited water supplies and the upper floors of the house were on the verge of collapse - putting the 25 fire-fighters at risk of injury themselves.
After two hours of searching it became apparent that the man’s wife wasn’t in the house and was in fact was out volunteering at Whitby Hospital.
Watch manager Chris Watson told the Gazette: “We just got a call to Egton Bridge and as we were travelling to the incident we got another caller who could give more details and brief us as to who was probably in there.
“At the back of the house there were flames coming out of the windows and doors and at the front flames were coming out of the windows.
“It was difficult to access because the door locks were so strong so we had to commit crews through the windows.
“We originally searched for two people and we were in a rush because we knew we only had so much time to effect a rescue.
“Once inside crews faced really hot conditions and zero visibility. It was ardouous for them.”
Before they knew the wife was not at home the crews continued to search despite the upper floors being in danger of falling through and whilst also struggling to get the fire under control.
Additional resources were drafted in from Danby, Robin Hood’s Bay and Lythe stations.
The nearest water hydrant was nearly a mile away so those crews were going back and forth to help pump more water to the incident site.
Air Ambulances from Yorkshire and also the Great North service were raised as it was thought both casualties would need lifting immediately but they were not needed.
The ambulance service stayed at the site to look after the fire crews in case they were injured by heat or debris.
Once the fire was under control the Whitby crew stayed on the scene until 9pm then handed over to a crew from Scarborough who continued to damp down the property overnight.
The same Whitby crew were back by 6am the next morning to take over and assist with the fire investigation. They were there until 2pm on the Saturday.
Although nothing is confirmed, it is thought it may have broken out in the kitchen because that is the area of greatest damage and smoke alarms had been activated.
Mr Watson added: “Overall it was a really dangerous incident. There was ammunition, we could have fallen through the floors, there were gas cylinders and a car on fire on the drive. As fires build up you get experience of them and you deal with what is put in front of you.
“Thankfully incidents like this don’t happen very often and it is something we aren’t used to nowadays.
“Nationally, fire deaths are going down quite significantly. It is the first one I have had up here in Whitby and the first one in Whitby for years. It is sad, but that is what we are trained for and they had a good attempt to try and save somebody.”