Spalding fire tragedy: cause is still a mystery

Tower Lane fatal fire scene Spalding ANL-160305-123426001
Tower Lane fatal fire scene Spalding ANL-160305-123426001
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The cause of an inferno that left three men dead is still being investigated four days after fire ripped through a Spalding house.

There’s also an ongoing investigation to discover the identities of the men who perished in the flames in a house of multiple occupation in Tower Lane.

The Tower Lane house viewed from Westbourne Gardens. SG030516-116TW

The Tower Lane house viewed from Westbourne Gardens. SG030516-116TW

The fire started just after midnight on Sunday and nine-and-a-half hours later police said two people had died. It was revealed on Monday that the death toll had risen to three.

An elderly resident of Westbourne Gardens lives in a house overlooking Tower Lane.

The woman, who asked not to be named, had described the scene as being like a “towering inferno” when she first spoke to us on Sunday morning.

On Tuesday, she told us: “I had been hoping there was nobody in there. I have been very shaken by it.”

Charred timbers give a clue to the inferno that enveloped a Spalding house. SG030516-112TW

Charred timbers give a clue to the inferno that enveloped a Spalding house. SG030516-112TW

She says the house was mostly occupied by young East European men and she often heard them laughing together when they were outside enjoying barbecues.

“I don’t know whether those young men have gone (died),” she said.

She and her husband were woken around midnight by a police officer frantically ringing their doorbell to warn them to be ready to evacuate.

“I went into the side bedroom,” she said. “I could not believe what I was seeing. It’s a white building and the whole of the roof, all the way along, was flared up in flames. The smoke was billowing in the wind and there were sparks coming over here. I don’t ever want to see anything like that again. It really was awful.”

Flowers close to the scene of the fire that claimed three lives. SG030516-104TW

Flowers close to the scene of the fire that claimed three lives. SG030516-104TW

The resident recalls smelling smoke in her own home at about 10.40pm, and her husband checked their house and assured her it was okay, but she doesn’t know if that was linked to the fire in the nearby house.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue’s first message on Twitter reported fire crews responding to the incident at 12.05am.

The fire-wrecked house was partly boarded-up on Monday afternoon and Tower Lane had two metal barricades in place to prevent people reaching the house.

Kevin Sharman’s elderly parents Geoff and Linda live in Tower Lane, feet away from the house that was on fire.

A barricade blocks the lane to the fire-wrecked house. SG030516-107TW

A barricade blocks the lane to the fire-wrecked house. SG030516-107TW

Speaking outside their home on Tuesday, Kevin said: “They just woke up to the fire brigade really, they saw all the blue lights coming down here.

“I was in Norfolk and nipped back because mum and dad are in their eighties. They couldn’t get out of their house.

“I came back Sunday dinner – it was just smoke and this (the lane) was full of fire engines.”

Kevin, who lives close by in Cowbit Road, said thankfully his parents weren’t in any danger because the wind blew the flames away from their home.

He said the house involved was made up of one room lets and has been regularly occupied by East Europeans.

Kevin said he didn’t know anyone living there because “they come and go in a week.”

Three cars pulled into the lane on Tuesday morning – believed to be carrying fire investigators, who were seen talking together outside the house.

Lincolnshire County Council said yesterday the outcome of the investigation will be reported first to the coroner before it is made public.

Four floral tributes were placed on the lane leading to the house where the three so far unknown men lost their lives.

The flowers were there on Tuesday but there were no names for the dead and no names for those paying their respects.

One Polish woman told us her family is waiting anxiously for news because her lorry driver husband had a friend living at the house and fears he may be one of the men who lost their lives.

The deaths have been reported to the temporary coroner for this area, Paul Cooper.

There are ongoing investigations to establish the identity of each of the men and an inquest will be held on a date to be fixed, but that could be some months away.

Fire engines from Spalding, Crowland, Holbeach, Donington, Market Deeping and Kirton were called in at 12.05am on Sunday along with an aerial ladder platform from Boston.

Station manager Matthew Perrin, from Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, said the fire spread from the ground floor to the first floor.

He described the building as being “heavily involved in fire”.

Some crews remained on the scene for most of the day and the aerial ladder platform was still in action, damping down the roof of the Tower lane house, at around 10am on Sunday.

Previously ...

Three killed in Spalding house inferno

UPDATE TUESDAY: 10.30AM: Spalding house fire deaths not suspicious, say police