Much-loved Whaley Thorns gran is hailed hero

.Floral tributes at Mary Street
.Floral tributes at Mary Street
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A MUCH-loved grandma helped to save her family from an horrific house fire on Christmas Eve before she lost her own life in the blaze.

Chesterfield coroner’s court were told during an inquest opening how Constance Norma Sweeney, known as Norma, of Mary Street, Whaley Thorns, died after it is believed she became trapped by the blaze in a front room.

But Deputy Coroner for North Derbyshire Nigel Anderson told how the 65-year-old had alerted her daughter and her daughter’s partner after her husband was woken by the smell of smoke. Police also confirmed Mrs Sweeney had alerted neighbours from a window.

Mr Anderson said: “The smoke was so bad they couldn’t see their hands in front of their faces.

“All the partners tried different windows to get out, and in efforts to find a window Mrs Sweeney became separated in a front room where she was unable to escape.”

Pc Tony Pemberton, of Bolsover police, confirmed her selfless actions after the fire was discovered about 5am.

The inquest was told how emergency services struggled to get near the property because the blaze was so fierce and it damaged homes on either side.

Mrs Sweeney was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Anderson added: “It’s something of a miracle three people actually got out and survived.

“The seat of the fire appears to be an electrical fault and there was no smoke alarm in the property.”

Friends described Mrs Sweeney as a lovely woman who volunteered at the local Snapbox cafe. The inquest was adjourned for a date to be fixed.