Blaze tragedy victim battled leukaemia

A MAN who feared he could lose his home after being diagnosed with leukaemia has tragically died in a fire at the property.

A MAN who feared he could lose his home after being diagnosed with leukaemia has tragically died in a fire at the property.

Stephen Tansley suffered 80% burns in the fire at his home in Abels Road, Halstead, and had to be rescued by firefighters.

He was rushed by ambulance to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford but died some hours later of his injuries.

Emergency services were called to the scene just before 8.30pm on Thursday and two crews from Halstead put out the fire which was in the ground floor of the house.

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A neighbour who bravely tried to reach Mr Tansley was treated for smoke inhalation at Colchester General Hospital but not seriously injured.

In December 2006 Mr Tansley and his wife, Paula, spoke of their struggle pay the mortgage in the wake of a survey by Macmillan Cancer Support which found 6% of patients lost their homes after cancer diagnosis.

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The article, reported by the BBC, said that while Mrs Tansley gave up her job to care for her husband, he was made redundant after his diagnosis.

It added: “They found it difficult to keep up with their mortgage payments and have taken their case to court. They have managed to negotiate that they pay the interest only on their mortgage. However, they are still having trouble in keeping up with their payments.”

Police and the fire service have launched a joint investigation into the tragic blaze but officers said yesterday it was not being treated as suspicious.

A post mortem examination is yet to take place and formal identification of Mr Tansley is also yet to happen.

A police spokesman said a file was being prepared for the coroner and an inquest would be held at a later date.

Neighbour Tony Wright, 44, desperately tried to reach the stricken Mr Tansley.

He said: “I was in the front room watching telly when I saw some smoke. I went outside and, with another man, we tried to get him out.

“We managed to knock down the front door and break the glass but smoke was too thick and the flames were too fierce to get through.”

Joyce McCall, 65, another next-door neighbour, said: “I didn't see much but everybody was looking out of their doors at the fire.

“The first thing I saw was black smoke billowing out of the windows.

“It is quite traumatic when it's someone who you've lived next door to for about 15 years.”

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