Tears for Archie killed in hor­ror fire

Fam­ily and friends pay trib­ute to tragic pen­sioner

Lennox Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Jenny Foulds

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.”

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