December 10 2013 Latest news:
and Hywel Barrett
Friday, August 23, 2013
A man found dead after a house exploded and then caught fire has been named as 28-year-old Toby Satchell.
Mr Satchell’s body was found in a front bedroom on the first floor of the home in Kingsmead Court, Littleport after the blaze ripped through the property on Sunday.
An inquest into his death was opened at Huntingdon Law Courts in Cambridgeshire yesterday but a spokesman for the coroner’s office said investigations into the cause of the fire were still ongoing.
A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue said it had completed its investigation into the cause of the fire and had passed its findings on to the coroner.
Neighbours had heard a loud bang at around 11.50am and rushed out to see what happened.
Residents David Loosley and Samuel Northcote then knocked down the front door and garden gate to see if anyone was inside but were beaten back by the heat of the fire as thick, black smoke engulfed nearby Victoria Street.
“It was so intense,” Mr Loosley said after the incident. Tiles were coming off the roof and the top window blew out. It was all over the house. It was a phenomenal sight.”
Neighbours rang the fire brigade, with crews from Littleport, Ely and Sutton attending and using an extra-high ladder to help them fight the blaze.
Police were unable to enter the property for many hours as it was deemed to be unsafe. The Norfolk Urban Search and Rescue team was called in at one point to help make the structure of the house safe enough for crews to continue their work.
A specialist search dog was also called in as fire investigators sifted through the rubble of the house.
Mr Satchell’s body was later found and was formally identified by Det Insp Ian Simpson.
A post-mortem examination was carried out at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and the cause of death is unascertained.
Raymond Peacock, 75, whose Victoria Street home backs on to the Kingsmead Court property, said he heard the occupants of the property talking in the garden area moments before the explosion.
“We were digging a hole right near the fence and we heard them out there,” he recalled shortly after the incident.
“The next minute, we heard a big bang – an explosion. Within seconds, the conservatory just went up in the air. We were terrified.”
A woman is believed to have escaped from the scene unharmed.
The inquest has been adjourned until a later date.