Gerringong mourns couple lost in house fire

The Gerringong community is mourning the loss of Lillian and Eric Wagstaff, who died in a house fire in Geering Street on Monday.

Mrs  Wagstaff,  88, died in the home on Monday afternoon. 

Her 90-year-old husband suffered serious burns in the blaze but managed to escape by jumping from a first-floor balcony. 

He was flown to Royal North Shore Hospital but died on Tuesday afternoon.

Emergency services were called to Geering Street about 1pm on Monday,  where they found the Wagstaffs’ home well alight.

The fire was extinguished and a search of the house located Mrs Wagstaff’s body a short time later.

Acting inspector Matt Glasgow said investigations were continuing into the cause of the fire, however it was not believed to be suspicious.

Locals took to Facebook on Wednesday to share their sorrow for the couple, who were influential in the Gerringong Historical Society and known for their Christmas displays.

Rochelle Ellem wrote: ‘‘RIP. Your house brought so many wonderful memories to many children’s imaginations at Christmas time.’’

The couple celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary on Valentine’s Day.

Mr Wagstaff was a former cabinetmaker who specialised in building church furniture and devoted much of his time to making models of buildings in the Gerringong and Kiama district. 

He was associated with Gerringong and District Historical Society, with some of his models  housed in the group’s museum.  

Neighbours said the couple had lived in the house on Geering Street for several decades.

They said Mr Wagstaff, who built the house, loved tinkering with inventions.

Kiama Independent

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