Man dies in horrific house fire

A MAN who died in a house fire in the early hours of New Year's Day might have survived if smoke detectors in the Essex property had been working, it has been claimed.

By Juliette Maxam

A MAN who died in a house fire in the early hours of New Year's Day might have survived if smoke detectors in the Essex property had been working, it has been claimed.

The 48-year-old man died after an intense fire in the upstairs bedroom of his home in Oak Hill, Blackmore End, near Braintree, just before 4.20am yesterday .

His mother was awoken by the smell of smoke from the fire and called the emergency services, but none of the four smoke detectors fitted in the house went off.


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Three fire crews from Wethersfield, Sible Hedingham and Braintree were dispatched, along with an ambulance, ambulance senior manager and rapid response car.

Firefighters and paramedics tried to resuscitate the man but he was declared dead at the scene. It is thought he was overcome by the smoke.

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Essex Fire and Rescue Service media officer Dave Moore said smoking materials were found in the man's bedroom, but the cause of the fire will not be known until a fire investigation has been completed.

Fire investigation and Essex Police scenes of crimes officers were yesterday carrying out an inspection of the bedroom.

Mr Moore said: “It was a very small fire within the bedroom area - bedding, sheets, the quilt - it was a very slow, smouldering fire.

“It would appear he was overcome by smoke while in his sleep. It was very lucky his mother smelt something. She saw flames, shut the door and called us out.”

He added: “Sadly, smoke detectors fitted were not operational, had they been, there's a good chance they may have prevented this incident.”

Mr Moore urged people to test their smoke detectors once a week, periodically vacuum out the dust and change the batteries once a year.

The man's mother was yesterday being cared for by friends. She was said to be in “deep shock”.

A post mortem examination will be carried out to find the cause of death. It is possible police may name the dead man today .

+ Meanwhile smoke detectors possibly saved a family in Danbury when a candle on top of a television caused a fire in Belmont Park, Danbury, yesterday .

A night-light candle had heated the plastic on the television and caused a small fire. Smoke set off smoke detectors at 7am and the family woke up, went outside and called the fire brigade.

Two crews from Great Baddow and Chelmsford promptly put out the fire and ventilated the house.

juliette.maxam@eadt.co.uk

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