Exeter: woman, 89, unaccounted for after house blaze leaves building unsafe to enter

Investigations are continuing into a blaze at a home in Exeter where an 89-year-old woman remains ‘unaccounted for’.

Firefighters were called to Beacon Heath in the early hours of Monday (April 5), where flames and smoke were seen coming from the windows of a bungalow.

The blaze, which was not thought to be suspicious, caused extensive fire damage, resulting in the collapse of the roof and partial fall of walls, leaving the building unsafe to enter.

An 89-year-old resident living at the property remains unaccounted for, said police.

The burnt-out building was completely destroyed by the blaze, leaving it with ‘significant structural collapse’.

The fire service investigation was put on hold after the property was deemed an unstable structure.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesperson said: “In the early hours of Monday 5th April, firefighters from the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service along with officers from Devon and Cornwall Police, attended the scene of a fire in Beacon Heath, Exeter.

“Extensive fire damage has been caused to the property and the building assessed as unsafe to enter at this time.

“An 89-year-old female resident remains unaccounted for and a police cordon remains in place.

“There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding this incident.”

Some eight crews and fire engines – from Danes Castle and Middlemoor stations, in Exeter, Clyst St George, Honiton, Crediton, plus city-based fire service Special Operations – were called to Beacon Heath shortly after 1am on Easter Monday.

They tackled the blaze through the night.

By 8.30am the following morning one fire engine was still at the scene with the crew dampening down hotspots to make sure flames did not reignite.

A Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) spokesperson said: “Fire crews were called to a domestic property fire at 1.05am.

“Smoke and flames were seen issuing from the single-storey building on our arrival and five fire appliances attended initially.

“Crews tackled the fire throughout the night. The building was severely damaged by fire, the roof had collapsed and the walls had partially collapsed.”

The spokesperson added: “The property was one-hundred per cent damaged by fire and smoke with significant structural collapse.

“The fire investigation was unable to start due to an unstable structure.”

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