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4th Jul, 2022

Neighbour speaks of shock after fatal fire

Malvern Editorial 25th Mar, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

THE NEIGHBOUR of a woman who died following an ‘inferno’ which burned down a static home at Three Counties Park has spoken of his shock.

Emergency services were called out in the early hours of yesterday morning (Tuesday) to the site in Upper Pendock after the blaze broke out at the home of the woman – who has been named locally as Valerie Ashcroft.

Tony Moore, whose home is less than 10ft from where the fire started, told the Observer he was woken up shortly before 5am by his neighbour banging on the door.

“I opened it and there it was, one big inferno. It was just a mass of flames.

“My first reaction was shock, absolute shock. It is not the sort of thing you expect. We have never had anything like this on the park since it opened.”

The door of Mr Moore’s home, which he has lived in for 12 years, suffered damage from the fire and three windows were also cracked, but he said he had got off ‘very lightly’.

“If the wind had been blowing like it was last week, there could have been a few houses go up. I honestly think we were lucky. Once the roof would have caught fire we wouldn’t have been able to do anything. Once they go up they go up.”

He said fire crews had arrived quickly but the fire had taken a while to put out and it had been impossible for them to attempt to recover the home, adding they had guessed mother of three Ms Ashcroft – who had not been formally identified as the Observer went to press – was inside.

“We guessed she was in there but there was nothing we could do. Even the fire brigade, some of them had breathing apparatus, but I don’t think there is anything they could have done because of how intense it was.

“She’s been my neighbour for about 12 years and she was a lovely lady.

“We used to go over and see how she was, you know just little things like that. We used to give each other lifts when either of us didn’t have a car. She was a lovely neighbour.”

Crews from Upton, Ledbury and Gloucestershire, as well as a station commander, tackled the fire with hosereel jets and compressed foam.

A West Mercia Police spokesman said: “At 5am this morning, officers were called to the Three Counties Park in Upper Pendock, Malvern, where a static caravan was well alight.

“Once the fire had been dealt with by colleagues from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue, the body of a woman, who is thought to have lived at the property, was found.

“Alongside fire investigators, detectives are investigating the incident, but it is not thought be suspicious and it is expected their evidence will be passed as a report to the coroner for Worcestershire.”

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