Fire victim dies despite rescue

PUBLISHED: 14:00 14 February 2015

Peter Buck

Peter Buck


A 67-YEAR-OLD wheelchair-bound man died after being badly burnt in a fire that ripped through his home, despite the brave efforts of neighbours to rescue him.

Peter Buck, of Newsome Avenue in Pill, died in intensive care at Southmead Hospital after becoming trapped in his home at around 12.30pm on February 3, but was pulled out of the smoke-filled house by a number of brave neighbours.

Zhila Gaffney, who was first on the scene with her husband John, said: “I was in the garden when I heard a fire alarm going off and saw Pete’s house on fire so I jumped down the steps and called for my husband.

“While I was on the phone to the fire brigade I watched my husband disappear into the smoke. Pete was sat in his wheelchair in the middle of the living room and everything around him was on fire.

“John brought him out 
and ripped his clothes off. His body was burnt very badly.

“I have hardly been able to sleep since the fire. I just think if I had heard the alarm a fraction earlier it might have been different.”

Mike Hutchings, who arrived to help a few minutes later, said: “I just did what any neighbour would do.

“Two volunteer firemen turned up and we helped to carry him on to the grass on the other side of the road where we waited for an ambulance to turn up”

Diane Hughes, Peter’s sister, paid tribute to the support of people in the village and the response of the neighbours and emergency services.

She said: “The support from the community has been absolutely amazing.

“Massive thanks to the guys that helped him. I am indebted to them for getting him out.”

Despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when he was aged 33, Peter spent a lot of time out and about in the village in his wheelchair and Diane says he will be a major loss to the community.

She added: “Peter was very stoic and extremely independent. There was never a time when he would complain. This is why he was so well-liked and will be extremely missed by everybody.”

In a second house fire to occur in Pill last week, a neighbour also came 
to the rescue of a mother and her two children 
during the early hours of Thursday.

Miranda Burn and her two children had to be helped from an upstairs window of their home in Bramley Close after a fire started in the kitchen. Since the incident a large number of Pill residents have pledged to donate items including clothes and toys to help the family recover.

Neither fire is being treated as suspicious and it is not thought they are linked.

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