FLORAL tributes cover the doorway of the Sunderland flat where a man’s body was found after a fire.
Kevin Gray, 35, was found dead after the blaze swept through his downstairs flat in Northcote Avenue, Hendon, shortly before midnight on Tuesday.
Today, the downstairs windows and front door of the house are boarded up and bouquets bearing poignant messages of remembrance cover the doorstep.
“R.I.P. Uncle Kev, I know you’ve had your bad and good times, but I will always miss you with all my heart,” says one message, which is signed Curtis, Jack, Kieran, Holly, Leon, Jake, Billy.
Another, from Mr Gray’s mother, reads: “Why has it had to be your time, you’re too young to die. It’s not fair to lose you son, you fly high with them angels.
“You will always be in my heart and I will always keep the good times we had close to my heart.”
Fire crews were called to Northcote Avenue after the alarm was raised by neighbours and a man in the flat above Mr Gray’s.
He was rescued safely, but Mr Gray’s body was subsequently discovered in the ground floor flat.
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 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.”
An investigation into Mr Gray’s death continues after a post-mortem examination failed to establish why he died.
It is still unclear whether the death was 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.