Lowestoft father-of-three died after running into his burning flat to save his dog

The scene of the fire in Roman Road, Lowestoft. Picture: SIMON WARD

The scene of the fire in Roman Road, Lowestoft. Picture: SIMON WARD - Credit: Archant

A “kind and loving” father-of-three from Lowestoft died after running into his burning flat to save his dog, an inquest has heard.

Carl Bell, 52, died after trying to rescue his dog from his burning flat. Photo: GEORGE RYAN

Carl Bell, 52, died after trying to rescue his dog from his burning flat. Photo: GEORGE RYAN - Credit: Archant

Bricklayer Carl Bell, 52, died on December 2, 2016, from smoke inhalation after a fire broke out in his first floor flat in Roman Road.

The inquest heard he was visiting his friend on the ground floor when, just before 12pm, he was told there was thick smoke and flames coming out of his home.

According to a statement from his friend Peter Freeman, on hearing about the blaze Mr Bell ran straight upstairs to try and rescue his beloved Staffordshire Bull terrier Munchie.

It read: “I told him “get out, there’s a fire in your flat Carl.

The inquest heard Mr Bell died from smoke inhalation. Picture: GEORGE RYAN

The inquest heard Mr Bell died from smoke inhalation. Picture: GEORGE RYAN - Credit: Archant

“He then said ‘where’s my dog, I am going to get Munchie.’

“Carl disappeared into the smoke and that was the last time I saw him.”

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Mr Bell’s body, and that of Munchie, were later discovered by firefighters just yards away from each other in his flat.

A fire investigation report, conducted by Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, revealed the fire most likely started due to an electric heater that had been left on in the flat.

The report said it was likely a wax jacket that had been drying close to the heater had caught alight, or that Mr Bell’s dog had knocked the electric fire onto the carpet.

Giving a conclusion of accidental death, Suffolk area coroner Nigel Parsley praised the courage of firefighters who entered the building to check for casualties.

Mr Bell’s sister Pippa Ward, who also thanked the firefighters for their bravery, described her brother as a “very loving person” who was always there to lend his friends a hand.

She said: “He was always there to help people out and he was very kind. Carl was a very loving person, he was very friendly and would give away everything he had to help someone.

“The dog meant so much to him because it belonged to his past partner who died of cancer.

“He will be missed.”

A post mortem examination showed Mr Bell had died as a result of smoke inhalation and alcohol excess.

A toxicology report revealed he 274mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, which Mr Parsley said would have affected his coordination and judgement.

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