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Bradwell: woman killed in house blaze

PUBLISHED: 09:15 02 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:41 03 July 2010

A FIRE which killed an elderly woman in her Norfolk home on New Year's Eve may have been started deliberately.

As police and fire investigators examined the home of Grace Lilian Crome yesterday for clues on how the fire started, a relative claimed she could have died in a New Year Eve's prank which went wrong.

A FIRE which killed an elderly woman in her Norfolk home on New Year's Eve may have been started deliberately.

As police and fire investigators examined the home of Grace Lilian Crome yesterday for clues on how the fire started, a relative claimed she could have died in a New Year Eve's prank which went wrong.

Miss Crome, 91 and known as Lilian, died after a blaze started in the hallway entrance of her Bradwell home at about 9pm.

Three fire engines from Yarmouth and Gorleston were called in to tackle the hall way blaze and two firefightes donned breathing gear to enter the property, where they found Miss Crome dead.

Police and firefighters were due back at her sealed off Beccles Road home today to continue their extensive investigations.

One of Miss Crome's relatives and next door neighbours said yesterday that she thought a New Year's Eve practical joke involving fireworks or burning rags shoved through a letter box may have caused the deadly blaze.

Elsie Hall, 63, said: “It could have been a nasty prank that went wrong. There is nothing in Lilian's hallway that could have started a fire.

“I have been told there was a small area of fire by the front door.”

Mrs Hall last saw her relative at about 9.30am on New Years' Eve and the 91-year-old fire victim had visited her on Christmas Day for dinner and gave some biscuits and calendar for presents.

Peter Harris, watch manager at Yarmouth fire station, said: “I can tell you we found a small fire in the hall way which had caused moderate damage. An elderly woman had died.

“We are still in the early stage of the investigation - that is all I can say at the moment.”

Paying tribute to Miss Crome, Mrs Hall said: “She was a lovely lady. A real old-fashioned lady. She loved her gardening and was always telling me to stop fussing over her.”

Miss Crome was a spinster and had lived in Bradwell for at least 60 years. She had worked in Norwich for BT as a switchboard operator and was deeply religious.

As a member of the Bradwell Gardeners Club she won several trophies in September 2007 for her roses, cooking apples and plum jam. She was also one of the longest serving members of the Yaresiders folk dance group.

Miss Crome was also a distant relative of the romantic movement artist John Crome who helped set up the Norwich School of Artists in 1803.

Neighbour Jack Ward, 82, said: “I did not hear or see anything on New Year's Eve until I saw the fire engines arrive.

“She was a lovely lady, very well mannered and a very kind person.

“I feel dreadful and very sad about the way she has ended up losing her life.”

Norfolk police said that no information would be revealed about the cause of the blaze until forensic officers had compiled their report and sent it to detectives.

Anyone with information about the Beccles Road fire can call police on 0845 4564567.


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