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Tributes paid to 'a true gentleman' who died in a house fire
AN elderly man hailed ‘a true gentleman’ died at a fire in his home in Widnes on Sunday night.
Housebound widow Jack Leather, aged 84, lived on his own in Lockett Road.
Neighbour Catherine Ball said: “We were just going to bed when we heard the fire brigade. We didn’t hear or smell anything or see any flames.
“Firefighters had to break in. Black smoke came bellowing out.
“I told them I was an ex-nurse and offered to help. They asked me to set up some oxygen but it was too late. I tried to help but there was nothing I could do.
“We’re all really sad.”
A Cheshire Police spokesman said: “Sadly, the occupant of the property was found deceased inside the property.
“There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the incident and a file will be prepared for the coroner.”
The fire broke out at 10.25pm.
Catherine described Mr Leather as ‘a shy, quiet man’.
She said: “He was super independent. He had a carer in a morning but wouldn’t have any other help. He used to shuffle about very slowly on his zimmer frame. He used to do everything himself.
“He had his bed in the living room. It was always made up and he used to sit in a chair.”
She said he had lived in his home opposite Victoria Park lake for more than 40 years.
His late wife, Margaret died a few years ago.
Catherine added: “He was a true gentleman. He used to go into town with his wife on the bus. They used to walk very straight.
“He was always very smart. He was really tall, more than 6ft.
“When I first moved here 17 years ago, myy daughter was only four weeks old. I used to walk up and down with the pram. He was always doing the front. He absolutely loved gardening.
“We are all very upset about this.”
A spokesman for Cheshire Fire and Rescue said: “We are still investigating the circumstances of this fire. We believe it was accidental.”