UPDATE: Police name man who died in Sunderland flat fire

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POLICE have released the name of the man who died in a fire tragedy in Sunderland.

Kevin Gray, 35, died in a blaze at his downstairs flat in Northcote Avenue, Hendon, last night.

FIRE TRAGEDY: police on guard at the flat in Northcote Avenue, Hendon, where Kevin Gray, 35, died.

FIRE TRAGEDY: police on guard at the flat in Northcote Avenue, Hendon, where Kevin Gray, 35, died.

Firefighters were called just before midnight after a call from a man trapped in an upstairs flat, and several calls from neighbours.

The man had been alerted by his smoke alarm going off.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service sent three appliances and a member of control staff remained on the phone with the man, giving survival advice.

Police helped the man from the flat and he was taken to hospital for precautionary checks.

On arrival, crews found the ground floor flat was fully ablaze with a large amount of smoke.

It was not known at this point whether anyone remained inside.

Fire crews used hoses and breathing apparatus to tackle the blaze and fought their way into the flat.

It was at this point that they discovered the body of a man, who was confirmed dead at the scene.

The fire service is working with Northumbria Police to investigate the cause of the fire, but it is not thought to be suspicious.

Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Our thoughts and sympathies go out to this gentleman’s family and friends at this very sad time.

“I would like to encourage people to take extra care. I cannot emphasise enough to everyone the importance of having working smoke alarms.

“Every household should have one on every level and they should be checked regularly. They give you the vital minutes you need to get out safely.”