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Man dies in fire tragedy on Boxing Day

Victim described as 'a quiet man' and named locally as John

29 December, 2016 — By Ella Jessel, William McLennan

The fire-damaged flat in Hawley Road

DETECTIVES are investigating the circumstances behind a fire which killed a man in a Boxing Day blaze at his home in Camden Town.

Police set up a crime scene around the flat in Hawley Road on Monday morning and officers from Camden CID are investigating the death alongside the London Fire Brigade.

The tragedy was a sombre awakening from Christmas celebrations for neighbours near the junction with Hartland Road, with some opting to remove their festive decorations as a mark of respect.

The victim, who was named locally as “John”, believed to be in his late ­forties, lived alone in the second-floor flat. Police said the cause of the fire is yet to be determined and the death is being treated as “unexplained”. Officers remained at the scene last night (Wednesday).

One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “I just hope it was an accident, rather that anything criminal.”

He added: “He was a quiet man. He didn’t bother anyone. He was a good neighbour, but kept himself to himself.”

Peter Lyons, who lives across the road, said: “I had a sign up saying ‘Happy Christmas’, but I’ve taken it down – it was flashing and I thought it was a bit inappropriate.

“I don’t know what happened in there, I don’t think anyone will ever know. It’s lucky it didn’t spread to other flats.”

He added: “I saw smoke coming out the window at around 9 o’clock in the morning and there were two fire engines. When I came back the police were there and they told me it was a crime scene and I wasn’t allowed down the road. You can see how it’s completely burnt out inside.”

A floral tribute left at the scene by neighbours said: “We are shocked and saddened to hear about how you have passed away so suddenly. Words seem inadequate to express the sadness we feel about how you have lost your life.”

The London Fire Brigade said that “over half of the second-floor flat was damaged by the fire” and the smoke-damaged walls of the home could be seen through shattered windows.

A Met Police spokeswoman said: “A man was pronounced dead at the scene at 09:16hrs. Enquiries continue to establish the cause of the fire. Officers are working alongside LFB fire investigators. There has been no arrest.”

A fire brigade spokesman said that 21 firefighters and four fire engines rushed to the scene after being called at 8.28am and had the fire under control in just over 45 minutes. The spokesman added: “Sadly, crews found a man in the flat who was declared dead at the scene.”



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