Woman escapes fatal house blaze as husband dies

Ian Jennings
Ian Jennings

This is the first picture of a ‘devoted’ husband who died in a tragic fire at a Doncaster bungalow.

Investigators today continue to look into the cause of the devastating blaze, which broke out in Pinfold Close, Tickhill on Saturday night.

Neighbours named the victim as 64-year-old father Ian Jennings, who lived in the quiet cul-de-sac with his wife, Olive, aged 67. She managed to escape the fire, which broke out about 9.30pm.

Neighbours described hearing a loud explosion before seeing huge flames coming from the property.

They paid tribute to Mr Jennings, who they said was ‘polite’ and ‘devoted’ to his beloved wife.

Patricia Douglas, 77, said: “It’s just a terrible situation. It’s been a big shock for all of us here.

“It’s only a small cul-de-sac and there were emergency services vehicles everywhere.

“We were just going to bed and saw all the sirens outside, we didn’t know what had happened at first.

“We’re a close neighbourhood who help one another out so news like this is very sad.

“We only really knew the couple to say hello to but they were always very polite. They were both retired.

“As far as I know, Olive managed to get out, thank goodness, but it’s terrible to hear about Ian.”

Residents living nearby described the chaotic scenes outside the bungalow as emergency services arrived.

Another neighbour, who didn’t wish to be named, said: “It was complete chaos here.

“The whole road was filled with flashing blue lights and people were trying to find out what had happened. This type of thing doesn’t happen here, we’re just a quiet community.

“It’s devastating to hear what’s happened to Ian, he was devoted to Olive. She must be devastated.

“They have a close family from what I know so I hope she is getting the support she needs.”

A man, who didn’t wish to be named, said: “The first I heard was when I heard sirens outside.

“I came out onto my drive and instantly saw the house on fire. The flames were enormous and were going right up to the roof.

“Then there was a loud explosion. It sounded like an oxygen tank going off.

“Someone told me that the lady got out quite quickly but that her husband was still inside.

“It sounds awful but I remember looking at the house and thinking ‘there’s no way anyone is getting out of that house alive’. The flames were just huge.

“I didn’t know the couple but would recognise them if I saw them, it’s a really awful thing to happen.”

Another neighbour sent a heartfelt message to retired NHS worker Mrs Jennings.

She said: “It’s very, very sad that not only has a wife lost her husband but she’s lost her home as well.

“It’s incredibly sad what’s happened and we’re very sorry for Olive’s loss.

“We can’t say what happened but it’s a terrible tragedy.”

A South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said the cause of the fire was being investigated.

He said: “Three fire engines were called to reports of a fire on Pinfold Close in Tickhill, Doncaster at 9.30pm.

“A man and woman were inside the property, the lady managed to escape, however the man sadly died at the scene.

“Firefighters used hose reels to put the fire out.

“An investigation will take place to determine the cause of the fire.”