Woman killed in blaze named locally as fire station campaigner Tracey Swann

Fire at Caley Street in Heacham ANL-160925-123138009
Fire at Caley Street in Heacham ANL-160925-123138009
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The victim of a fatal house fire has been named locally as Tracey Swann who only recently successfully campaigned for her local fire station to stay open.

Fire crews from the reprieved Heacham Fire Station, Norfolk, fought to save the life of Tracey, believed to be in her 50s, who died in the blaze at her terraced home.

Fire at Caley Street in Heacham ANL-160925-123500009

Fire at Caley Street in Heacham ANL-160925-123500009

Tracey, who worked as a phlebotomist at Heacham Surgery, lived with her 16-year-old son Tanner.

She was the chairman of the local youth club - which Tanner was attending at the time of the fatal incident on Saturday night.

Two black dogs, belonging to Tanner and single mum Tracey, managed to escape the blaze at the £160,000 brick and stone built property, where the family had lived for the past three years.

A neighbour, who has lived in Heacham all of her life but did not wish to be named, said: “The fire was in the next street to me and from my bedroom window I could see the flames and smoke above the houses. It was horrendous.

“It was awful knowing that she could be in there, I’ve never seen anything like it.

“People were trying to locate Tracey as no one actually knew for definite she was in there.

“My thoughts go out to her son Tanner and his family and the fire service who tried their best to help her.

“She was a lovely lady who would do anything for anyone and she will be greatly missed by the whole village, everyone knew her.”

Another resident, who was evacuated from their home while firefighters tackled the blaze, said: “It was an enormous fire, it just took hold and there was no stopping it.

“We had no idea if anyone was inside but we were praying everyone was safe.

“When we found out Tracey had been inside the whole time, we felt sick. It’s one of the worst ways to go, we only hope she didn’t suffer.

“She put her life on the line to save the local fire station, it’s just tragic they couldn’t save her, but they did everything they could.”

Today, the property where Tracey lived showed clear signs of fire damage, with both upstairs windows blown out and blackened from the flames.

Large parts of the roof were left completely destroyed, with only charred rafters still standing in the middle of the terraced row of houses.

Tracey, who also served on Heacham Parish Council, fought for the Heacham Fire Station to stay open amid threats of closure as part of controversial proposals to plug a multi-million pound savings gap.

During the campaign, Norfolk County Council received one of the highest responses to any public consultation on record as well as petitions against cuts to the Fire and Rescue Service.

The fight to save the station proved successful in February 2016, thanks to a persistent fight by Tracey and other campaigners.

Speaking in February, Tracey said: “To everyone who registered their opinion during the Norfolk County Council public consultation, either online, by letter or telephone, thank-you.

“This process has proven that by standing together against the proposal to close the fire station, we have made a difference.

“Without such outstanding public support, this could have been a very different situation.”

Residents took to Facebook to pay tribute to the mother-of-one.

Katie Shanks said: “Such devastating news to wake up to. We were hoping we would wake up this morning and by some miracle she would have been found.

“This is even more awful as she was so instrumental in saving our fire station for us.

“Thoughts and prayers are with Tanner and Margaret this morning and I know the whole village will greatly miss her.”

Carol Young wrote: “Morning my precious family and friends. Today we heard of some very sad news, another beautiful lady, who fought to save Heacham fire station passed away in a terrible fire last night. It’s a shock to us all.

“Please send out your prayers to all her family and friends.

“When something like this happens reality hits, life is so precious, live in the moment.

“Make that time to be with those you love dearly, you never know when it’s our time to go home.

“Love you all so much. You are all very special people <3 xxx”

Kirsty Anne Garwood added: “R.I.P Tracey such a beautiful lady inside and out my thoughts go out to Tanner and his Nan.

“My heart goes out to the fire service.”

St Mary’s Church in Heacham was due to open tonight for prayer and remembrance for those affected by the fire to pay their respects.

A spokesman from the East of England Ambulance Service said the victim was found dead at the property.