Tributes have been paid to an 83-year-old woman who died in a house fire in the early hours of Boxing Day.Sheila Sourbutts died from the effects of smoke inhalation after the blaze broke out at her home on Cliff Street, Rishton.
Tributes have been paid to an 83-year-old woman who died in a house fire in the early hours of Boxing Day.
Sheila Sourbutts died from the effects of smoke inhalation after the blaze broke out at her home on Cliff Street, Rishton.
Mrs Sourbutts was rescued by firefighters along with her son Ross, 52, who had been caring for her for several years, but she later died in hospital.
Neighbour and friend Yvonne Masterman described her as a “lovely lady”. She said: “I have known her for 50 years and worked with her at the old Textilose factory on Mary Street where she was a paper winder.
“I also used to be a stewardess of a club and she used to come in. It's a great shame.
“She was very nice, friendly and jolly. You could have a right good laugh with her. It's bad at any time but Christmas just makes it worse.”
Reece Lockhart, who lived next door to Mrs Sourbutts for 25 years, said he was “shocked” by her death.
He said: “She was a really nice lady and it's a big shame. She wasn't well recently and that's why her son moved in with her.
“I was shocked when I came home and saw the road cordoned off. It's a shame I wasn't in the house as I might have been able to help.”
Fire crews rescued Mrs Sourbutts from the ground floor and her son Ross from the first floor. His friend Derek Barden, 53, had managed to escape the house on his own. All three were taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, but Mrs Sourbutts died several hours later.
DI Holbrook, from Lancashire Police, said the fire is currently being treated as unexplained, but there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances.
She said: “This is a tragic incident and we are working hard with the fire service to piece together what has happened.”
Ben Norman, group manager for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said the property had a smoke alarm but it wasn't enough to save her life.
He said: “Our thoughts at this time are with the lady's family and we have seen this happen too many times during a period which is supposed to bring joy and happiness.
“A joint police and fire investigation is now underway to determine the cause of the fire.”
Anyone with information should call police on 101.