3:40pm Wednesday 14th May 2014
By Emma Mackintosh
THE woman who died in a fire in Pontllanfraith was a 98-year-old great-grandmother.
Fire and police officers are still investigating the cause of the fire at Iris Novello Johnson's home, which neighbours say was reported by a passerby who spotted flames in the lounge.
Shopkeepers near the house on Commercial Street, Pontllanfraith, next to the Plough pub, described their shock as emergency services vehicles arrived at around 2pm yesterday and fire fighters from Aberbargoed and Caerphilly smashed through the front door, releasing clouds of smoke.
Mrs Johnson was taken to the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport where she later died.
A police cordon was set up around the house and fire investigation teams arrived on Wednesday morning.
Gaynor Williams, manager of the Post Office on Commercial Street opposite the house, said she had not noticed flames or smoke when she opened the shop, but said police closed the road for around two hours while they dealt with the incident.
Elizabeth Matthews, manager at the nearby Texaco petrol station said she was shocked by the sad incident, while neighbour Dave Morgan, who has lived opposite Mrs Johnson on Commercial Street for more than 30 years, said she kept herself to herself and was visited by her son Malcolm at least twice a day.
Mrs Johnson's son said his parents lived in Hengoed before moving to Pontllanfraith in the 1970s, where they organised tea dances at the Llanarth Road working men's club.
"She was a very private person who had been living independently for the last 18 years" he said.
A spokeswoman for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said the cause of the fire was being investigated.
The fire was next door to the Plough pub near the corner of Penmaen Road and Commercial Street.
A spokeswoman for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said the cause of the fire was being investigated but a spokeswoman for Gwent Police said it is not being treated as suspicious.
AN elderly woman has died after a house fire in Pontllanfraith, the fire service has said.
Three fire crews, one from Aberbargoed and two from Caerphilly were called to the blaze at a two-storey house near Blackwood at around 2pm yesterday.
A spokeswoman for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said the woman was rescued by firefighters and taken to hospital by ambulance but later died.
She could not give an address of where the fire happened as an investigation into the cause of the fire is underway, she said.
Fire fighters left the scene yesterday at 3.06pm.
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