Former postman dies in explosion on his 91st birthday

A PENSIONER killed in a massive gas explosion in his Essex home died on his 91st birthday, it has emerged.

A PENSIONER killed in a massive gas explosion in his Essex home died on his 91st birthday, it has emerged.

Firefighters were called to Ted Haines’ bungalow in the early hours of yesterday morning after his neighbours awoke to the sound of a large explosion.

They arrived to find the bungalow well alight and had to battle fierce blames and a ruptured gas pipe as they tried to get to him.

The popular pensioner, who was nearly blind, was found in his kitchen but there was nothing that could be done to save him.


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Neighbours in Arnhem Grove, Braintree, spoke of their shock and paid tribute to the former postman who had lived in the road for more than 40 years.

His neighbour, Marie Haynes told the EADT of the dramatic scene she awoke to see.

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“I heard a big bang and did not know what it was – I thought it was coming from the garages next-door.

“I could see the fire and smell it too and there was a lot of stuff coming off his roof into my garden as the water went onto the roof.”

Mrs Haynes said her neighbour had gone into hospital for a hip replacement after suffering a number of falls in his home.

“I did visit him sometimes. He was blind so did not go out a lot. I found him to be a very nice chap.

“The last time I saw him was before he went into hospital to have his hip done. It is a bit of a shock – he would have had his birthday today.”

Walter Brooks, who used to live opposite Mr Haines, had only just chatted to his friend on the phone on Wednesday evening.

“He would have been 91 today and I had spoken to him last night as he had just come out of hospital and he sounded ok.

“He had all the bits and pieces he needed so he could get around like a frame. It’s a real shock to have woken up to find this happened.”

It is understood widower Mr Haines had been married to Joyce who had died many years ago.

Divisional Officer Julian Ashley from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, offered condolences to family and friends.

He said five calls had been made to the emergency services from neighbours who heard an explosion.

“Crews were faced with a significant fire in the roof space and in the kitchen area at the rear of the property.

“It was well-alight and as a result of the fire one male person, believed to be the occupier, was located in the kitchen area.

“The cause of fire is being investigated but the damage to the property appears to be consistent with a gas explosion as there is structural damage to the roof.

“It is not believed to be suspicious but an investigation is being carried out.

“We would like to pass on, on behalf of the service, our condolences to family and friends of the deceased.”

Two crews from Braintree attended the original call at 3.20am with back up from Coggeshall.

“The conditions were very difficult for crews because of the fire in the roof space made a hole and the structure was unstable.

“There was also a gas pipe which had ruptured and was alight in the kitchen area and had to be isolated.”

Afterwards fire officers and housing association representatives did door-to-door checks to make sure residents, many of whom are elderly, have working smoke alarms as well as reassuring them such incidents are rare.

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