Pensioner speaks of shed blaze horror

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Fire was so severe investigators cannot establish the cause

A pensioner has spoken of her horror after a shed caught fire near her home in Alnwick.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said she fears for her life on a regular basis as she claims a spate of anti-social behaviour in her area led to the blaze.

But Northumbria Police said there is no evidence to suggest this as inquiries are ongoing.

Emergency services were called at around 9.30pm on Tuesday after reports of a fire at a derelict shed behind Fenkle Street in Alnwick.

Eyewitnesses said that the town was covered in smoke.

One witness said: “As I came down Narrowgate, the whole of the area was covered in smoke.

“I walked down to where the cottages are and the whole place was on fire. It was the biggest fire I’ve ever seen.”

Fire crews worked through the night to contain the blaze which was finally put out at 8.20am yesterday.

The fire had also caused damage to a building next to the shed, which delayed the investigation as structural experts had to make sure it was safe.

A fire investigation officer for Northumberland Fire and Rescue was able to get to the site on Wednesday afternoon but said the damage to the shed was so severe he was ‘unable to establish the exact cause of the fire’.

The pensioner, who lives in Bowburn Cottages behind Pottergate, said she could hear youngsters running away from the scene ‘minutes’ before the fire broke out.

The resident went into her kitchen, which backs onto a path up to the disused shed, when she started to hear a disturbance.

“I heard something so I went into my kitchen and I could hear a car being pushed down the road, then there was an explosion. There was a second explosion and, as I went to ring 999, the police arrived.”

She said that two minutes before the explosion she could hear the laughs of a girl outside.

The pensioner said she lives in a ‘constant state of fear’.

But a spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said that nothing on their logs reflected those claims.

She said no disturbances had been logged in the area since 2013.