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Man killed in flat fire named as inquest opens

PUBLISHED: 19:00 09 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:03 12 August 2019

The fire was inside Blackbourne View sheltered housing in Ixworth, accomodation for the over 55s Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

The fire was inside Blackbourne View sheltered housing in Ixworth, accomodation for the over 55s Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

MARIAM GHAEMI

The 77-year-old victim of a flat fire in west Suffolk has been named as Frank Smith from Ixworth.

At the opening of an inquest into his death on Friday, principal coroner's officer Caroline Daines said Mr Smith had been living at sheltered accommodation at the time of the blaze.

Residential carers had been alerted to a flat fire on the first floor in the early hours of July 6 and went to investigate, the inquest heard.

They spotted smoke in the corridor and tried the door of one of the flats - which was hot when they touched it - and thick black smoke came out so they dialled 999.

Firefighters from Ixworth, Bury St Edmunds and Thetford rushed to the scene of the blaze, at Blackbourne View in Peddars Close, at around 1.14am.

The body of a man, believed to be Frank Smith who lived in the flat, was later recovered from the scene.

Senior Suffolk coroner Nigel Parsley adjourned the inquest until March 2, 2020, to allow further tests and reports to be carried out.

A joint fire and police investigation was launched in the hours after the incident, but detectives said the death was not being treated as suspicious.

MORE: Shock as man, 77, dies in flat fire

At the time, others living in Peddars Close expressed their shock over what had happened.

One neighbour, Andrew Ahenkuro, said: "It's such a tragedy."

Suzie Bates added: "That's awful. That's very sad."

And Alan Bartrum said: "It's normally quiet round here. I have been here three years. My neighbour said she woke up at 2am (due to the commotion)."

Meanwhile Joyce Mitchell, who worked as a carer for 18 years, said: "It's really sad."

Ashleigh Jarvis, operations manager of Blackbourne View, which is run by Housing 21, said at the time: "We can confirm there has been a fire at Blackbourne View in the early hours of this morning and we are supporting the police and fire service in their investigations."

A spokeswoman for the fire service said the blaze did not spread to neighbouring flats, and was dealt with by 3.18am.

Police cars and forensic vans were also spotted outside the sheltered housing complex.

Anyone with information about the incident was asked to contact Suffolk Constabulary on 101, quoting reference number CAD 36 of Saturday, July 6.

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