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Man dies in Epping flat fire

The blaze started yesterday morning (credit: Essex Fire and Rescue)

A man has died in a fire at a block of flats in Epping.

His body was discovered during a blaze in Woodland Grove yesterday morning.

Investigators believe the fire started accidentally, but they have been unable to determine what caused it.

Ten fire engines from across Essex and east London attended the scene after the fire was first reported at 6.30am.

It was confirmed that the blaze was brought under control around three hours later. The death of the man was confirmed shortly after midday.

Confirming that the blaze started in a top floor flat, before spreading to the roof and an adjoining building, fire investigator Mark Earwicker said: “We now know that the fire started in the open plan kitchen lounge area. We have recorded the cause as accidental but because of the extent of fire damage in the flat, it’s difficult to determine exactly how the fire started.

“We believe this was a tragic accident where a man sadly lost his life, and, over the coming days and weeks, we will be working hard to spread our safety messages and offer reassurance and advice to residents.

“As always, our message to every single person in the county is to make sure they have a working smoke alarm on every level of their home. It will alert you to the first sign of fire and give you more time to get out, stay out, and call 999.”

Epping Forest District Council opened a rest centre at the Jack Silley Pavilion at Stonards Hill, for residents affected by the fire.

The council’s leader, Councillor Chris Whitbread, said: “I am so sorry to hear that a man has died. This is a terrible tragedy. Our prayers and best wishes go out to his family, friends, and neighbours. I am sure I speak for all residents and councillors in offering our thoughts and condolences.”

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