Tears for Archie killed in horror fire
Family and friends pay tribute to tragic pensioner
Heartbroken family and friends of a Dumbarton pensioner tragically killed in a fire have paid tribute to the“absolute gentleman”. Archie Arnold, 66, died following a blaze at his home in Silverton’s Smollett Road. Crews battled to save him but he died at the scene. The fatal blaze is said to have been caused by a devastating accident. This week his nieces Lynne Robertson (pictured with Archie), Ann Arnold and friend Kenny Smith, described him as“a character and a harmless, innocent man”.
Heartbroken family and friends of a Dumbarton pensioner who died in a fire have paid tribute to the “absolute gentleman”.
Archie Arnold, 66, died following a blaze at his home in Silverton’s Smollett Road.
This week his devoted nieces Lynne Robertson and Ann Arnold and close friend Kenny Smith, spoke of their heartache and told how Archie - described as “a character and a harmless, innocent man” - has left a huge gap in their lives.
Fire crews battled flames and smoke to remove the pensioner from the flat and fought to save him but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police confirmed this week that the fire, which tore through the home in the early hours of November 4, is not being treated as suspicious.
It is believed to have been started as a result of a tragic accident.
Speaking from her home in Donegal, Ireland, Lynne told how she was left crushed after taking the call - at 3am on the morning of the fire - to be told that her beloved uncle had been killed. She said: “I couldn’t believe it. “We ensured there was always a way we could be contacted if need be but we weren’t prepared for anything like that.
“My sister Ann and I now live in Ireland, after our mother Noreen moved here, but we have always stayed in close contact with Archie and are preparing to fly over to make arrangements.
“We used to live in Dumbuie Avenue and have lots of memories of our uncle Archie.”
Mr Arnold, who went to Dumbarton Academy, had lived in Smollett Road for 37 years, having earlier lived in Bellsmyre and Dumbarton East, where he grew up.
He always lived with his parents Margaret and Tommy and latterly lived on his own after their death.
Lynne continued: “Archie struggled when granny died 10 years ago but he met a great friend in Kenny. He was also very independent and wanted to do everything by himself.
“Neighbours will remember him for keeping himself to himself but for also being somebody who would say hello to everybody and for being very polite and extremely well mannered.”
Archie never had a paid job but he always kept himself busy, whether it was building incredible objects out of matchsticks or tinkering with his beloved boat.
He could also often be spotted out and about on his bike and tending to a well looked after garden at the back of his home.
“He was always down the Leven fixing up his boat, which was his pride and joy before it sadly sank, and he loved fishing”, added Lynne.
“He would come in with a bucket full of tails and granny would always look forward to the trout he would bring home for her.
“They also had an amazing garden full of turnips, lettuces, blueberries, strawberries and me and Ann would pick and eat the peapods.
“Uncle Archie would stick his head out the window, telling us off for that.
“He loved making things like model airplanes and he once made this huge, intricate ship out of matchsticks, complete with wee compasses and lights.
“There would always be a jigsaw on the table and in later years he loved to buy drones of all sizes.
“The shelf in the living room was covered in them.”
Lynne and Ann are now preparing to make the emotional journey back to Dumbarton to make funeral arrangements.
Ann said: “It’s difficult being so far away. I just feel absolutely heartbroken.
“I’ll always have images of him coming to collect me from Knoxland Primary on his bike.
“He would always do things to make us feel special like make smiley faces out of our lunch and prepare drinks with fancy straws and cocktail umbrellas.”
Friend Kenny told us he feels extremely honoured and proud to have had Archie in his life.
He found out the devastating news on the Sunday morning, when he rushed over to Smollett Road after hearing about the fire on the radio.
At that time he did not know the blaze had happened at Archie’s home.
He said: “I just wish I could have been there. I would have been in there in seconds and pulled him out.
“I used to see him once or twice a week. We would sometimes go into Glasgow and go round the shops.
“He loved the journey there and would tell me of his memories, of how much it had changed. “He has left behind a huge gap in my life. “Archie could be a lonely man and ironically since his passing I am understanding that loneliness because I am feeling lonely without him.”
He added: “Archie once asked me ‘if I died what would you remember about me’?
“I thought for a second and replied ‘I would say you were a character’.
“He said ‘oh, I’d quite like to be known as a character’.
“And that’s how I’ll always remember him: a character and a harmless, innocent man who was an absolute gentleman.
“It was a privilege to have known him.”