South Yorkshire Times January 31, 1970
Fire-Hit Trader Finds Neighbours are Friends Indeed in Time of Need
Conanby newsagent has been so overwhelmed with offers of help since a fire damaged the family home above his shop, that he has asked the “South Yorkshire Times” to extend a special vote of thanks to neighbours and business people in Conisbrough.
Fire caused damage estimated at £400 before firemen using breathing apparatus, could control the blaze in the Wembley Avenue shop of Mr. Brian Panther last Thursday. Since then offers have been pouring in. Said Mr. Panther, “The way the neighbours have rallied round has been terrific. I have had a whole host of ladies round offering to clean up the mess caused by the flames and smoke, and two of them have done our washing for us.
“Business people have also rang me up with offers of help, as they thought the fire had been in my shop.”
Mr. Panther’s wife and youngest child, Robert (3), are staying with his mother, but Melvyn’s grandfather, Fred sleeping at neighbours’ homes until their damaged bedrooms have been re-fitted.
The fire alarm was raised by Mr. Panther’s seven-years-old son, Melvyn, who ran downstairs to alert his grandfather find assistants working in the shop.
Melvyn’s grandfather, Fred (63), told the “South Yorkshire Times” this week, “When I went upstairs the toy cupboard was ablaze and flames covered the far end of the passage.
“I tried to douse the flames with buckets of water and then went to fetch a hose, but it wouldn’t work. A policeman came with me on the way back, but we were driven downstairs by the thick smoke.”
Fire and smoke damaged the kitchen, living room and bedrooms, and destroyed the children’s Christmas toys.