Investigation under way after man dies in Norwich fire

PUBLISHED: 06:48 08 July 2014

Emergency services at Hotblack Road, Norwich on Monday. Photo David Bale

Emergency services at Hotblack Road, Norwich on Monday. Photo David Bale


Fire chiefs and police are today investigating the cause of a blaze after a man died at a downstairs flat in Norwich.

Ian Buckingham. Photo David Bale Ian Buckingham. Photo David Bale

Crews from Earlham, Carrow and Sprowston attended Hotblack Road, off Dereham Road, from about 5am yesterday.

The dead man, who lived alone, has been named locally as Robert Curson, who was aged about 60.

Neighbour Ian Buckingham said: “I woke about 4.45am and went into the kitchen to get a glass of water.

“I saw smoke out through the window. I went downstairs and out the back, and smoke was coming from the kitchen vents from the downstairs flat.

“I grabbed the phone to call the fire brigade and then started banging on the man’s door.”

He said Mr Curson “kept himself to himself. You would say hello but we very rarely saw him. It’s very sad. We did not hear his smoke alarm going off, so presume he did not have one.”

Another neighbour Linda Cornish added that she heard “a terrific noise, like a bang”.

“I thought the dustmen were coming. Then I heard another crash. Last week, the road outside was resurfaced and I thought they had come back.

“But then I looked out the window and I saw the fire brigade. Then a neighbour was banging on my door. She said ‘You’ve got to get out, there’s a fire’.

“I then went downstairs to check on the woman who lives there, to see if she was all right. I have lived at the flat about 35 years, and Mr Curson had been there 20-25 years.

“I think he may have been married many years ago. He did not have any children and did not work. I think he may have had family in Leicester. He was a very quiet man but he was nice.”

Another neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said the man’s council flat was “full of rubbish”.

“It was an accident waiting to happen with all the rubbish in there. But it’s very sad,” she said.

Norfolk police spent the day at the scene and the property was cordoned off. A Norfolk police spokesman said: “Officers were called to flats in Hotblack Road after reports of smoke coming from one of the properties. The fire service was also in attendance at the fire which was in a bedroom. Sadly, a man who was in the flat died at the scene. Fire service investigators, assisted by police, will examine the property and carry out a full investigation to establish how the fire started. A cordon remains in place.”

Would you like to pay tribute to Mr Curson in the paper? Email

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