Cause of Sunderland man’s flat-fire death remains a mystery

DEATH SCENE: Police at the house in Northcote Avenue.
DEATH SCENE: Police at the house in Northcote Avenue.
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A PROBE into a man’s death in a Sunderland flat fire continues after a post-mortem examination failed to establish a cause of death.

Kevin Gray, 35, was found dead after the blaze swept through his downstairs flat in Northcote Avenue, Hendon.

But it is still unclear whether Mr Gray died as a result of the fire or some other cause.

A coroner’s spokesman confirmed the matter would require further investigation after a post-mortem examination proved ‘inconclusive’ in establishing a cause of death.

Fire crews were called to Northcote Avenue shortly before midnight on Tuesday, after the alarm was raised by neighbours and a man in the flat above Mr Gray’s. He was rescued safely.

The fire broke out during a 24-hour strike by the Fire Brigade Union as part of an ongoing national dispute over pensions.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling said the strike had had no impact on the time taken to respond to the calls:

He said “As soon as we received a call about the fire, we immediately sent three appliances as we would have done if there wasn’t a strike,” he said.