A 94-YEAR-OLD war veteran has died after a serious house blaze in Winwick yesterday, Monday.
Five fire crews were called at 2.50pm to the semi-detached bungalow on Gerosa Avenue, Hermitage Green but could not save Samuel James, known as Sam to neighbours.
Homeowners said they were in shock after seeing the gutted remains of his home where he had lived with his sister before she died more than 15 years ago.
Sam, who never married and had no children, was described by neighbour Barbara Slater as a 'lovely, old-fashioned English gentleman'.
Linda Cooper, who moved across the road from Sam with her family when she was aged 10 in 1966, said he was a quiet gentleman but loved his garden.
She added: "He was lovely and probably the only person I have ever met who never had a bad word to say about anybody.
"He was very active until recently and would often walk down the lane to bring my mum a newspaper.
"It felt like his whole family lived on the street when I was little as he had brothers and sisters in the other houses."
Other neighbours added the heat from the flames was 'frightening' and the fire took over the house in less than eight minutes after a motorist passing by raised the alarm.
A Cheshire Fire spokesman said: "Crews wearing breathing apparatus used two main jets and two hose reels to extinguish the fire, gaining access to the loft in the property next door where the fire had spread.
"The cause of the fire is still under investigation but at this stage there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances."
A spokesman for Cheshire Police said no one else was at the address, and there were no other injuries.
The pensioner's family have been informed.
The spokesman said: "Officers entered the house where they discovered the body of a 94-year-old man who lived at the address.
"There were no other occupants at the address and no other injuries as a result of the fire.
"The deceased′s next of kin have been informed and a file has been prepared for the coroner.
"The investigation into the cause of the fire is still underway but the incident is not being treated as suspicious.
"Anyone who may have any information about the fire is asked to contact Cheshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 499 of 7 July 2014."