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‘Kind’ grandfather died in house fire despite neighbour’s attempts to save him, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 07:54 02 May 2020 | UPDATED: 07:54 02 May 2020

Clive Connolly, 74 died in a house fire in Yoxford Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH

Clive Connolly, 74 died in a house fire in Yoxford Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH

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A ‘kind and caring’ grandfather died after an intense fire destroyed his Yoxford home, despite the brave efforts of his neighbours.

Clive Connolly, 74, died in a house fire in Yoxford Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTHClive Connolly, 74, died in a house fire in Yoxford Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH

Clive Connolly sadly lost his life when his home in Grove Side, Yoxford caught alight on December 15, 2018.

The 74-year-old was found by fire fighters in the living room of his house, where he was born and lived for most of his life.

An inquest investigating the circumstances around his death concluded yesterday at Suffolk Coroners Court in Ipswich.

The court heard how Mr Connolly’s neighbour, Ben Morphey was woken by his wife who heard an alarm at around 5am.

Clive Connolly, 74, died in a house fire in Yoxford Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTHClive Connolly, 74, died in a house fire in Yoxford Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH

He went to his neighbour’s house and managed to get in through an unlocked back door before being beaten back by the fire.

He then got a ladder and a hammer and smashed his way through an upstairs window but again was forced back by thick, black smoke.

After extinguishing the blaze shortly after their arrival, fire fighters found Mr Connolly on the floor of his living room where he was pronounced dead.

His dog, Max, also died.

A fire investigation found no conclusive evidence of the cause of the fire due to the extent of the damage caused by the blaze.

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However, they did find evidence of a pair of jeans that they believed may have caught alight after being placed in front of an open fire to dry.

They described the blaze as a “tragic accident”.

In a statement read out to the court, Mr Connolly’s sister Martina Holmes described the former parish councillor and postman as being a “big character with an even bigger heart”. She said: “Almost all of his 74 years he spent in Yoxford.

“He was very passionate about his village where he was a well loved and valid member of the local community. Clive loved his village and even more so he loved the people he shared it with.

“He lived his life with a big smile bringing joy and love to those around him.

“A kind, caring, generous man who was always there for us. We will miss you dearly.”

Concluding the inquest, senior coroner Nigel Parsley gave Mr Connolly’s medical cause of death as smoke inhalation before recording that he died as the result of an accident.


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