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Timely Rescue – Neighbours Help Family in Goldthorpe Fire

September 1957

South Yorkshire Times September 21, 1957

Timely Rescue
Neighbours Help Family in Goldthorpe Fire

Neighbours helped a young mother to rescue her three children – one of them a six months old baby – from the bedroom of their Claycliffe Terrace, Goldthorpe, home just after midnight on Monday, when the living room became a mass of smoke and flame.

His television set, copper, cupboards, clothing and a cyborg were damaged or destroyed in the intense heat – but the prompt action of the neighbours, police and firemen prevented the flames from spreading to other rooms.

The house effect was number 15, the last of the row of terraced houses, Goldthorpe colliery miner, Mr John A Calverley lives with his wife and three sons, Alan (seven) Stephen (two) and Ian (six months).

It was just after midnight when Mrs Calverley, was upstairs with the baby smelled smoke coming through the skirting boards of the bedroom.

“I went downstairs and saw smoke coming from the living room door” she told a “South Yorkshire Times” reporter. “I opened it, and saw the room was on fire, so I ran out and shouted for help. My first thought was to get the kiddies out of the room upstairs. Mr Clifford Webster and his mother came, and we went and got a child each. I took baby Ian. We then took them round to Mrs Websters and left them there. Little Mrs Roberts at number 12 put us up for the night.”

Mr Calverley was working down the pit when the police telephoned for him. “They were waiting at the picture for me, and after I had a bath, they drove me straight up,” he said.

After unsuccessfully trying to put out the fire with water, Mr Peter Bramfitt, and 18 years old miner, of number 13 and 22 years old Hickleton Main miner, Mr Clifford Webster of number 11, tried to summon the Fire Brigade by dialling 999, but could not get through. So they ran to the police station several hundred yards away – Mr Webster in his bare feet – and brought back Sgt H Jacobs and PCs Knappy and R Bosworth, who tackled the fire until the arrival of Mexborough and Goldthorpe Fire Brigades.

Thick Smoke

Mr Webster’s mother, Mrs C Webster said: “We had just gone to bed, when Clifford heard someone shouting ‘My kiddies, my kiddies.’ He looked out of the window, and saw that the end house was on fire. I told to go and help Mrs Calverley, I went with him and we each got one of the children out of their bedroom, and brought them here.”

“It was an awful fire. The smoke was very thick and it is a good job we got the children out soon as we did” she added.

Peter Bramfitt, who lives with his grandparents, Mr and Mrs G Kerry next to Mr and Mrs Calverley, told reporters he had just gone to bed with his grandfather smelled smoke. “Grandfather shouted, I got up and went round. Cliff and I tried to put the fire out but could not get near the smoke. We could not get the Fire Brigade on the phone so we ran onto the police station” he said.

Mexborough and Goldthorpe Brigades were soon on the scene, and put out the fire. When the smoke cleared, it was seen that an easy chair was completely burned away, carpet and linoleum were destroyed, and the television set and Ian’s pram and closing were badly damaged. The walls were thickly covered in soot, and smoke had damaged the paper on the walls of the recently modernised kitchen. Near the fireplace in the living room a cupboard had been burned, and its contents, mostly closing destroyed. The cyber had been badly affected by the heat.

Mrs Calverley said that during the war when the house was occupied by Mr and Mrs B Trodden, a similar fire broke out in the same room.