THIS WEEK IN 1989: Recluse killed in Southsea blaze

An elderly woman who called a friend for help because she could smell burning died in a blaze at her Southsea basement flat.

Sunday, 19th March 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:50 am
The fire-ravaged flat in Kent Road, Southsea, in which the pensioner died (C4981-1) Squalor: Mrs Perry and her five children  the youngest of whom was only five  spent their days and nights in the front half of their lounge (C4981-1) Cats: Thanks to the kindness of Caroline and the charities which came to their rescue, a family of stray cats was saved from starvation (B4853-1) Flood: The pipe was plugged by Portsmouth Water Company workers after 30 minutes (B4928-1)

Neighbours repeatedly tried to rescue Ann Crowther, 70, after fire broke out in the front room of her Kent Road home.

But their rescue attempts failed when they were beaten back by fierce smoke and heat.

The blaze was believed to have started in a chair the woman was sitting on at about 5pm. Firemen said a dropped cigarette may have been to blame.

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The alarm was raised by neighbour Pat Snape after the woman telephoned her and complained of smelling smoke.

Mrs Snape rushed from her home in nearby Southsea Terrace to Kent Road to find the flat on fire.