Street is still hurting

One year from the house fire in Clarence Av'PA1144-21a'Lesley Salisbury
One year from the house fire in Clarence Av'PA1144-21a'Lesley Salisbury

TODAY Clarence Avenue looks very much like any other town centre street in Bridlington.

There is no sign the fire which claimed three young lives exactly a year ago ever happened at the house, which is now occupied by another family.

One year from the house fire in Clarence Av'PA1144-21c'Don Bemrose at No.3

One year from the house fire in Clarence Av'PA1144-21c'Don Bemrose at No.3

But the residents who live on the street will never forget. Many are reluctant to talk about what happened, preferring to move on.

One resident, near neighbour Lesley Salisbury, tried in vain to resuscitate the children on the night of the fire. She explained how she and others living nearby had coped since.

“It took two or three weeks for it to sink in for me. We had snow shortly after and it covered all the teddy bears people had left outside the house.

“We all decided to give them to charity and that was when it really hit home,” she said.

“You learn to live with it, but you never get over it, it’s always in the back of your mind.

“One little girl who lives on the street still asks questions about the fire.”

Lesley explained this time of year has brought back many painful memories.

“It’s little things that set me off and remind me of the night, like every time I smell something burning,” she said.

“Around the inquest and at this time of year it’s a very sombre time.

“I was out of the country when the inquest was on, that was my way of dealing with it.”

Lesley said the events of that night made her think about leaving the street.

“I considered moving afterwards, but I said ‘this is my home’, I still want to stay because we all know one another.

“It’s changed the whole dynamics of the street, but I think it’s brought us closer together and we still talk to each other about it.

“I didn’t put up anything for Christmas last year and I won’t this year, I couldn’t even put up any cards.”

Don Bemrose, another Clarence Avenue resident, believes the tragedy has had a lasting affect on the street.

“I’ve not had any conversations about it apart from with Lesley, I think everyone is too upset, its a bad memory,” he said.

“I’m not sure how the rest of the residents have dealt with it. I think it’s on everbody’s minds all the time.

“I think people have mostly kept what happened to themselves.”

Don agrees with Leslie that this time of year is a sad time for people on Clarence Avenue.

“I don’t think people will splash out on decorations this year, it’s difficult to say how long it’s going to be felt.

“I’ve had people in town who, when I tell them where I live, say ‘is that the street where that happened?’.”