Building collapse as woman's body found in burning home

The Oxford Times: Police close Green Lane after the fatal fire Police close Green Lane after the fatal fire

NEIGHBOURS have spoken of their shock after the death of a pensioner whose home partially collapsed while firefighters were inside tackling the blaze.

The woman, named locally as Valerie Wood, died at her home in Green Lane, Woodstock, in the early hours of Saturday.

Fire crews were called at 1.17am and some were inside the detached chalet bungalow when it partly collapsed.

None were injured, but a woman’s body was later recovered.

The occupant is understood to have lived there for about 40 years and was divorced with two children in the town.

Her next of kin have been informed.

Thames Valley Police said the death is not being treated as suspicious.

Green Lane resident Edward James said: “There was a chap banging on the window saying ‘get out, get out’.’ “I ran across the road but there was nothing we could do. No one went in. It was well alight.”

Neighbour Gil Symonds, 81, said he saw smoke billowing from the property at about 1.45am.

He said: “There was lots of smoke and lots of vehicles. I could see there were at least five vehicles here – police, ambulance, fire engines.

“It was quite a serious fire. It was alarming. There was a lot of smoke for a long time."”

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Margaret Kalia, who lives opposite, said she and husband, Deepak, were woken by the sound of crackling at around 1am. She said: “I’ll never forget those flames. It is very tragic.”

Green Lane resident Colin Taylor, 74, praised firefighters, adding: “Those chaps risked their lives to get in there, they gave it their best shot.”

Neighbours made tea for emergency service workers after the fire was put out, he said. Green Lane was partially closed.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service area manager Mat Carlile, said: “Two fire engines were met with a pretty severe fire coming from the ground and the first floor so they called another two fire engines. Because of the severity of the fire part of the building collapsed while our firefighters were in the building. All our firefighters were OK, no one was injured.

“We found the body of who is believed to be the owner of the house.”

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