Fatal fire cause investigated
INVESTIGATIONS were today launched into the death of a man who died following a fire at his Ipswich home.Emergency services were called to a blaze at a semi-detached house in Orford Street yesterday evening.
INVESTIGATIONS were today launched into the death of a man who died following a fire at his Ipswich home.
Emergency services were called to a blaze at a semi-detached house in Orford Street yesterday evening.
Fire crews rescued the man, Graham Gillott, but he died later in Ipswich Hospital.
Scenes of crime investigators were called to the house in the evening and were due to return today.
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Both Suffolk police and the Suffolk Fire Service have refused to rule out suspicious circumstances.
However, fire service Divisional Officer Karl Rolfe last night said there was no reason to suspect the fire was started maliciously.
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Mr Gillott, who owns a card shop on Dial Lane, is believed to be in his 50s.
A close friend said Mr Gillott was in a coma for three months last year after he was injured in a serious fall.
He said: "He had been unwell ever since and I saw him yesterday and he was very unsteady on his feet."
The fire started in the living room and firefighters broke windows at the front of the house to get in.
Four fire engines from Ipswich attended the scene and officers taped off the area surrounding the property.
Neighbours said an ambulance was called to Mr Gillott's house on Monday because he had cut himself by falling and breaking a window.
It is believed his wife is away on holiday.
Shaun Desilva, landlord of the Brewers Arms in Orford Street, said: "He was a nice person, friendly. It's distressing.
"The first I heard was a fire engine pulling up outside the pub. I popped my head out of the door and could see smoke coming out of the house and I didn't think they lit fires in that house."
Another neighbour said: "It was a quiet time of the day and when four fire engines arrived we realised something was going on.
"I got that horrible feeling something bad was happening and then the police came round to say there had been a fatality."
The blaze was under control by 6.20pm. Neighbouring properties were not affected.
Mr Rolfe said: "We broke in and then realised through asking questions there was the potential for someone to be in.
"We located the casualty very quickly. They had serious injuries and were taken to hospital by ambulance. He did not appear to be conscious when we got to him.
"The search of the house was a bit of a challenge as it was so heavily smoke logged. Smoke issued out of all the windows. The crews could not see anything.
"The fire we believe was on the ground floor but until the investigation, we cannot confirm. Potentially the fire had been going for some time."