UPDATE: Police name man who died in Ambleside house fire

The Westmorland Gazette: Firefighters and police at the scene of a fatal house fire in Ambleside Firefighters and police at the scene of a fatal house fire in Ambleside

POLICE have named a man who died in a house fire in Ambleside.

Richard Durkin, a 58-year-old local artist, was carried from the house and, despite efforts by paramedics, was pronounced dead shortly afterwards. His 53-year-old partner, Julie, escaped without injury, police said.

Emergency services were called to the house in Bridge Street at 7:30 am this morning.

The owner of Whittakers Newsagents, Gary Elliott, was one of the first at the scene.

He said: “I could see flames bellowing out the windows and there was a lot of smoke. I saw Julie outside the house coughing on the floor while the fire service were trying to rescue Richard.”
 

He understood before the fire broke out that Mr Durkin's partner was asleep in the lounge while Richard was painting in the kitchen.
 

Mr Elliott said: “He was a lovely guy, a real gentleman who kept himself to himself.”

Police are now working with Cumbria Fire and Rescue to establish the circumstances of the fire, which as this time are not believed to be suspicious.

Owner of the nearby Waterwheel Guesthouse Julie Wright said: “We are still in shock – it is such a tragedy.

"We raised the alarm after hearing shouting from next door so we rang the emergency services."

Supt Mark Pannone of Cumbria Police said the fire was ‘self-contained’ within the building and officers were working with Cumbria Fire and Rescue to establish the cause. Cumbria Fire and Rescue watch manager Neil Denning said when crews arrived on the scene ‘flames were coming out of the window’.

As the tragedy unfolded, police closed Bridge Street and restricted traffic movements in the North Road area of Ambleside.

The Westmorland Gazette's Ambleside correspondent Jane Renouf, who visited the scene, said: "I've spoken to some of the neighbours who knew the dead man and everybody's very upset."

 

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