Inquest hears of devastating bungalow fire which killed man in his 80s

PUBLISHED: 18:42 21 July 2020 | UPDATED: 18:42 21 July 2020

Police attending the fire in Fuchsia Lane back in 2016 Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Police attending the fire in Fuchsia Lane back in 2016 Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

The husband of a man killed in a bungalow fire more than four years ago has spoken of the events of that night for the first time.

John Allen, who died in a fire in 2016 Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILYJohn Allen, who died in a fire in 2016 Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

An inquest into the death of 86-year-old John Allen was opened today, Tuesday July 21.

Mr Allen died following a house fire at his home on Fuchsia Lane in Ipswich on March 30, 2016.

He was living at the property with his husband Martin Hallowes, who also acted as his carer, when the fire broke out.

Emergency services were called to the scene but while Mr Hallowes survived, Mr Allen later died at Ipswich Hospital having suffered a cardiac arrest and 65% burns to his body.

The inquest heard that at the time of the fire Mr Allen was not in good health, having dementia as well as being largely deaf and immobile.

Carers visited his home three times a day to look after him in addition to the care provided by Mr Hallowes.

The couple had first met through Mr Hallowes’ work as a meals on wheels delivery driver. Mr Allen had been receiving meals from the service since 2009.

Mr Allen cancelled his use of the service but the two remained friends and eventually got married in October 2014.

Speaking at yesterday’s inquest, Mr Hallowes told of the night of the fire and said he and Mr Allen had been asleep in separate bedrooms.

In the early hours of the morning he awoke and said he smelt what he described as a “pungent odour”.

Mr Hallowes said he had looked in the kitchen and found no cause of the smell but on returning to his room he saw flames running across the floor.

He tried to put out the fire himself but was unable to do so.

Mr Hallowes said he had spoken to Mr Allen and tried to open a patio door in the living room where Mr Allen was sleeping but had been unable to do so.

The inquest was told by Mr Hallowes that he was unable to remember all of the events of the evening as he had blacked out at some point.

However, he did confirm that at no point had he called the emergency services or used the emergency alarm in Mr Allen’s room.

Mr Hallowes said he had not done this because of his concern over the situation at the time.

The inquest will continue tomorrow, Wednesday.

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