Elderly loner perishes in Manchester fire
The senior citizen who died in a fire at her Mandeville, Manchester, home on Thursday morning has been described as a loner.
The charred remains of Yvonne Findley, 75, was found in her seven-apartment home by firefighters after around 1:30 a.m. An early-morning call by residents of Sheridan Avenue, Mandeville, to the Manchester Fire Department was too late for Findley, who was trapped inside her home and later burnt to death.
Described as a loner, some community members told THE WEEKEND STAR that Findley stayed away from the public glare and was rarely seen outside.
"She lived alone and not a lot of people knew her. I know she has lived here for quite a while now but I am not sure how long, but the last time I saw that lady was probably a year ago. That's why we were hoping she wasn't actually in the house," a neighbour said.
Eileen Spence, who lives next door, said she spoke with Findley through the fence from time to time.
"I spoke to her about a month or so ago. She was a very secluded person but she wasn't a bad person, she just didn't mix with people. She was very articulate and I am aware of her having children, not sure how many, but I know they are abroad ... I am very distraught by what has happened, by how she died. She is not a troublemaker, nobody had any problem with her and it is just so sad," said Spence.
Residents said that the fire started around 1:30 a.m., and according to one investigator, the house was heavily grilled, making it difficult to enter and exit. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined as investigations are currently ongoing.
One neighbour, Kurt Hanson, said he was first alerted by the smoke and managed to call the fire station. He said he was hoping that Findley was not in the seven-apartment house.
"I was sleeping and I heard something like glass breaking and when I got up and I smelled something and I asked my wife if she smelled a funny smell ... I jumped up and looked out the window and I saw an entire side of the (Findley) house engulfed in flames," Hanson said.
He said all residents were soon alerted, but all they could do was watch as the firefighters tried to control the blaze.
"...We were just waiting because at that time we didn't know she was in the house. A man who normally cut the lawn came on and said he had a number for her and tried calling and it was dead. We had an inclination then that she was in the house," Hanson said.