Sorrow for Gerringong couple

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 a home well alight.

The fire was extinguished and a search of the house commenced for Mrs Wagstaff, who was unaccounted for.

Her body was located a short time later.

Police from Lake Illawarra Local Area Command established a crime scene at the home and commenced inquiries.

A report will be prepared for the Coroner.

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

Police tape surrounding the property was removed yesterday.

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

Rochelle Ellem RIP. Your house brought so many wonderful memories to many childrens' imaginations at christmas time. Your displays are something i still remember.

Carly Oppert: I remember going to their house on Christmas Eve as a kid so many good memories. So sad. 

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

Mr Wagstaff is a former cabinet-maker who specialised in building church furniture and has devoted much time to making models of buildings in the Gerringong and Kiama District. He has been associated with Gerringong and District Historical Society, with some models housed in the group’s museum.  

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

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

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