THIS WEEK IN 1971: Schoolboy, six, dies in Copnor house fire

The blackened rear-bedroom of 96 Powerscourt Road, Copnor, where six-year-old James Randell died in a fire
The blackened rear-bedroom of 96 Powerscourt Road, Copnor, where six-year-old James Randell died in a fire
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Firefighters attended a house fire at Powerscourt Road, Copnor, where a six-year-old boy died.

The schoolboy died in the bedroom he shared with his brother, after his younger sibling was dragged to safety. A fireman involved in the rescue was one of three people taken to hospital.

The boy who died was James Randell. Two rescue attempts failed to reach him.

James and his brother Raymond, three, were in the room when fire broke out.

Kevin Mole, 16, of Burleigh Close, Copnor, made the first rescue bid. He reached the room and managed to get Raymond out and take him to the front bedroom, where he was rescued by firemen.

Leaving him there, he went back for James – but was beaten out by flames and heat – then escaped himself.

A neighbour, William Davis of 104 Powerscourt Road, said: ‘We could see the little boy at the front window scratching it with his hands trying to get out.’

Raymond was taken to the Royal Portsmouth Hospital with his mother, Patricia, 24, who was in the house at the time of the fire.