Man who died in Sleaford house fire named locally

Police at the scene of the fire on Claremont Park, Sleaford, as investigators piece together how the blaze started. EMN-171220-102204001
Police at the scene of the fire on Claremont Park, Sleaford, as investigators piece together how the blaze started. EMN-171220-102204001
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An 88-year-old man who died following a fire at his home in Sleaford has been named locally.

The owner of Claremont Park, a Park Home site off Lincoln Road, where the bungalow fire took place yesterday morning (Wednesday) has paid tribute to the man, now named locally as Laurence (Larry) Gunningham, describing the circumstances as a ”terrible tragedy” so close to Christmas.

Emergency services were called to the site at 7.20am on Wednesday. A fire service spokesman said one woman (Mr Gunningham’s wife Eileen) had managed to escape relatively unharmed, but firefighters wearing breathing apparatus had to go into the property to rescue Mr Gunningham and both were taken to hospital by ambulance.

Lincolnshire Police later confirmed the 88-year-old had died following the fire. His wife, also in her eighties, was said to have less serious injuries.

Robert Burke of park owners R and C Burke Enterprises said today (Thursday): “On behalf of myself and members of our family I would like to express our extreme shock and sadness in respect of the tragic consequences as a result of the fire.

“We would also like to pass on our condolences to the Gunningham family at this very difficult time concerning the sad news that Larry Gunningham died at the scene of the fire and also to pass on our concern and best wishes to his wife Eileen who I understand is in hospital recovering from the effects of the fire.

“We have very fond memories of Larry who we remember as a kind, generous and upstanding member of the community. He will be deeply missed.”

It is believed the couple owned the park home and had lived there for almost 20 years.

One witness told The Standard there were fire engines, police cars, a paramedic car and ambulances on the scene when he visited the neighbouring Co-op store soon after the fire started.

He said: “I was told there was a fire in a bungalow at the back.”

An East Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman confirmed: “We sent a paramedic on a fast response car, two crewed ambulances and then crew from the Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire Air Ambulance, including a doctor and paramedic.”

She explained that the air ambulance could not be sent to the site but a doctor and paramedic were rushed by fast response car to assist with the patient.

The site was cordoned off by police while fire investigators worked to establish the cause at the scene.

A police spokesman said: “The incident is not being treated as supicious and a file will be passed to the Coroner.”