Inquest opens into death of popular ‘community stalwart’ in house fire
PUBLISHED: 14:42 18 January 2019
The inquest into the death of a popular former postman and parish councillor who died in a house fire has opened.
Clive Connolly died in a devastating fire at his home in Grove Side, Yoxford, in the early hours of December 15.
During the opening of the inquest at Ipswich Coroners’ Court, it was heard how neighbours valiantly battled to save Mr Connolly’s life but were beaten back by flames and thick black smoke.
Coroner Nigel Parsley passed on his condolences to Mr Connolly’s family and friends before adjourning the inquest.
A post-mortem examination has taken place but the date for the next hearing has not been set.
Emergency services were called to the house in Grove Side, just off High Street in Yoxford, shortly before 5.20am on December 15 to reports of a fire at a house. The fire service sent three engines from Halesworth, Saxmundham and Leiston.
Neighbours were woken by the sound of shattering glass at as flames took over the two-storey semi-detached house.
When they stepped outside, they saw clouds of “horrendous” thick black smoke billowing in the air, with some seeing flames through the front window.
As residents tried shouting to grab the attention of Mr Connolly inside, one neighbour reportedly smashed a glass window and went in on his hands and knees in a rescue attempt - but had to retreat due to the severity of the smoke.
Firefighters managed to put the blaze out by 6.15am but sadly, they were unable to save Mr Connolly.
Heartfelt tributes have been paid to the former parish councillor, with residents describing his death as a “great loss”.
Yoxford Parish Council chairman Russell Pearce, who served on the authority with Mr Connolly for several years, said: “There is great sadness at such a great loss.
“He was raised in the village, lived in the village all his life and was a parish councillor for many years. He was also a postman round here for many years. He was very much a community man.
“He was always very interested in the village and what was going on.
“He was one of the people you would always see out and about with his dog. It is a great shame he has gone. Everyone has been talking about him. It is tragic.”