Detectives confirm they are treating death of man in home blaze as murder
Police leading the investigation into the death of Patryk Mortimer at a former care home in Easington Lane as a suspected murder.
Detectives launched an investigation following the death of 39-year-old Patryk, who died in a blaze which started at his home address with the former Manor House Care Home on High Street in the early hours of Saturday, November 3.
Nine residents were helped to safety by firefighters.
Forensic analysts carried out inquiries at the scene throughout last week and an investigation is ongoing to determine the circumstances surrounding the fire.
The blaze happened just days after the building was at the centre of an earlier police incident when another man was allegedly involved in a rooftop stand-off with officers.
A 41-year-old man has appeared in court charged with burglary, affray, assaulting a police constable, possession of an offensive weapon and four counts of criminal damage after the incident on Wednesday night before.
Detective Chief Inspector John Bent, of Northumbria Police, said: “The investigation into Patryk’s death has entered a second week and we remain committed to determining how this tragic incident occurred.
“Our thoughts remain with Patryk’s family and friends, who are understandably devastated by their loss.
"They will continue to be offered support by a team of experienced officers.
“Inquiries into Patryk’s death are ongoing.
"At this time, we are treating the incident as a suspected homicide.
"There will continue to be an increased police presence in the local area to offer reassurance to the public.
“I would like to thank residents and local businesses for their ongoing patience and cooperation, and would ask anybody who has any information about the incident to come forward and speak to police.”
Witnesses said they watched on as firefighters and paramedics tried to save Patryk after he was pulled from the building.
Chris Lowther, chief officer of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, praised his crews for their efforts.
The service was called to the property at 2.43am and left the scene just before 4am.
Six crews of four firefighters were sent from fire stations at Sunderland Central, Farringdon, West Denton, Gosforth and South Shields.
The officers used hoses, breathing apparatus, thermal image cameras and positive pressure ventilation fan to clear the large building of fumes.
The blaze caused severe fire damage on the ground floor, with light smoke damage to the first and second floors.
Anyone with information is asked to contact 101 quoting log 146 031118 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.