First picture of ‘kind and caring’ mum, 43, killed in house fire as daughter pays tribute

The daughter of a woman killed in a house fire has told how her mum will be “dearly missed” in a heartbreaking tribute to her.

The 43-year-old woman, named locally as Michelle Howie, died and a 16-year-old girl was seriously injured in the blaze in Dudley, West Midlands, on Saturday afternoon.

The teenage girl remains in hospital with serious injuries.

A 49-year-old man was taken to hospital but was released a short while later after being checked over, said police.

Ms Howie was an “amazing mother” to her three children and a “rock” for her husband Shaun, who was involved in the fire, said her devastated daughter Beth Simcox.

Ms Simcox said: “She was an amazing mother to all three of her children. She was my dad’s rock and they were incredible together.

“No matter what life threw at my mum she always had a way of figuring it out.

“We are all going to miss her dearly especially her mum in Scotland and my dad Shaun.

“With everything going on we would appreciate some privacy to come together as a family to grieve her death.”

West Midlands Police said officers were called to the house fire in Sedgley at around 3.45pm on Saturday.

A spokesperson said a woman was declared dead at the scene.

The circumstances surrounding the fire are being investigated by police.

Detective Inspector Carla Thompson said: “We are working closely with the fire service to determine what happened. I would urge anyone with information to get in touch.

“Our thoughts are with the family of the woman at this difficult time, who are being supported by specialist officers.”

Local people are raising money and collecting donations to help those affected by the fire.

A GoFundMe page had raised more than £5,500 by Sunday evening and a baking business organised a raffle.

Local charitable initiative Small Steps to Making a Difference – founded by Jade Caldicott and Michelle Debattista – is gathering donations such as clothing.

“Everybody has been so wonderful and flocked together to provide basically what (they) are going to need,” Ms Debattista said.

“Someone came in this morning with trainers, jogging bottoms, t-shirts and hoodies – others joined in.

“When the time comes and they are ready to go back into some sort of accommodation then we will sort out the furniture donations.”