Man who died in early morning house fire in Mile Cross named locally as Andrew Dunthorne, 73
- Credit: Archant
A man who sadly lost his life in a house fire in Mile Cross in the early hours of this morning has been named locally as 73-year-old Andrew Dunthorne.
Described as a 'quiet' man who 'liked a joke', Mr Dunthorne had been a Norwich City season ticket holder for much of his life.
Friend of around 30 years Reg Woods, 80, was a regular at Wensum Community Centre with his wife and Mr Dunthorne. He said: 'I am really sorry for him.'
Mr Dunthorne had lived at the home in Penn Grove with his mother and brother, Colin, both of whom passed away years ago.
He was never married and leaves behind no children.
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'We would just have a laugh and a drink together,' said Mr Woods. 'It's terrible what's happened. He could give a joke and he could take a joke.
'He gave up football many years ago now. Colin was in the RAF regiment, and when he got demobbed, he and Andrew used to go down the pub on a Saturday and march down the football match like a true regiment.'
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Mr Dunthorne had been an organ tuner before taking up a job with Balfour Beatty at the Post Office, and took retirement when he was 65.
Firefighters and paramedics battled to resuscitate Mr Dunthorne in the early hours of this morning after being alerted to the blaze around 1.45am.
Police have now launched an investigation into the fatal fire, with fire investigators at the property throughout the day.
Appliances from Sprowston, Carrow and Earlham had attended the blaze with approximately 20 firefighters tackling the flames.
Neighbours described raising the alarm when their homes filled with smoke in the early morning, and it is thought the fire could have been burning for some time.
Next-door neighbour Marcin Wrobel, 36, said he had smelled burning around 11.45pm.
'I was sure it was coming from my house so I was searching around for the cause,' he said.
'I noticed a socket on the wall which smelt like burning inside. I opened some windows to give it some fresh air and went to sleep.
'About 20 minutes later the smoke detectors went off, first upstairs in the landing then downstairs. 'When I came down there was smoke inside the house, and we called the fire brigade.
'From the outside we couldn't see anything in the neighbours house apart from a light in the bathroom. Probably that was the flames. 'It was quite difficult to breathe inside my house and we took our three kids outside and round the corner so they didn't have to watch.'
Mr Wrobel described the man as 'very quiet'.
'It is very sad what has happened. Maybe if I had phoned the fire brigade earlier I could have saved his life,' he said.
'I thought nothing was wrong but when the smoke detectors beeped I got more suspicious it might be from next door. I don't know how long it was burning inside his house.'
Another neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said when they woke in the early hours their home had been filled with smoke. 'I thought this house was on fire because it was choking with smoke,' they said.
'There was nothing obvious burning, but there was a layer of soot on the floor, and smoke all upstairs. 'The firefighters were trying to resuscitate him outside the house, but I understand they couldn't.'
Crews used hose reel jets to extinguish the fire whilst wearing breathing apparatus. A thermal image camera was used to check for hot spots and ventilation of the property took place.
Neighbour Ron Jarvis said he had been woken by the flashing lights of the emergency services, and had seen 'an unbelievable amount of smoke'.
'When the fire people opened up all the windows there was a lot of smoke come out,' he said. 'The ambulance turned up and took a body away.'
The fire had been brought under control by 3am, and the fire service has now left the scene.
The death is currently being treated as unexplained and the cause of the fire is unknown at this stage.
A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said they attended just after 2am to reports of a casualty who was not breathing and in cardiac arrest.A rapid response vehicle, ambulance crew and ambulance officer, and a response car from the East Anglian Air Ambulance attended. 'Sadly the person died at the scene, despite the best efforts of everyone to try and resuscitate them,' added the spokesman.