HENDON FIRE DEATH: Neighbours speak of shock after woman dies and man seriously injured in house blaze
The fire took place at a property in Minorca Close, near Lawrence Street, at 3.56am on Monday (October 31).
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said a man and woman, both in their 70s, were removed from the property with the woman sadly pronounced dead at the scene and the man taken to hospital.
An investigation into the cause of the blaze is continuing although it is not believed to have been started deliberately.
Floral tributes could be seen outside the house on Tuesday morning, with the downstairs windows of the property boarded up.
Neighbour Arthur Hamilton, 75, said: "I was asleep when I heard the noise from all the emergency services. I came to the door and you could see lots of blue flashing lights and I saw the fire engines and an ambulance.
"I couldn't see any fire or smell any smoke but the police wouldn't let you get too close. I'm shocked at the news. I know the man and hope he gets well soon but it's very sad news about his wife.”
Fellow Minorca Street resident Gabriella Quiva, 52, added: "I was asleep in bed and I initially thought all the noise and sirens were part of my dream. I eventually woke up and realised something was happening.
"I looked out of the window and you could see the police had blocked the road. There were two or three fire engines. I couldn't see any fire and there was no smell of smoke, but I lost my sense of smell after Covid. On Monday morning there were police outside the house, including what looked like forensic officers.
"I'm shocked and saddened to find out the lady has passed away and would like to offer my condolences to the family."
Dorothy Devitt, 72, who lives opposite the house on Nicholson Close, said: "I was in my bedroom when I noticed flashing lights coming through the window. When I looked outside there were three fire engines and later on the police arrived.
“I couldn't see any signs of a fire. They were a very private couple and it's really sad to hear what has happened."
Three appliances, one from Sunderland Central, one from Marley Park, and one from Farringdon Community Fire Stations were sent to tackle the blaze.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager for Community Safety Richie Rickaby said: “Our fire control received a call about a house fire on Minorca Close in Sunderland and three appliances from Sunderland were on the scene in a matter of minutes to extinguish the blaze.
“A man and woman, aged in their 70s, were rescued from the property by firefighters. However, the woman was sadly pronounced dead at the scene while the man was taken to hospital with serious injuries.
“We contacted Northumbria Police as is a matter of course in incidents of this nature, it is currently under investigation, but we do not believe the fire was started deliberately and will help prepare a report for the coroner.
"The thoughts of everyone at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service remains with the woman’s family at this time, and with the man who remains in hospital with injuries sustained in the fire.”
Northumbria Police have confirmed officers from the force also attended the incident.