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Investigation continues into squatter's house fire death
4:52pm Friday 31st January 2014 in News
AN investigation is continuing into the cause of a fire in Bolton in which a 43-year-old man, who is believed to be from St Helens.
The man, who has not yet been identified, is thought to have been squatting in the house in Manchester Road, Burnden, when the blaze started on Wednesday at 6pm.
Two firefighters pulled the man from the house, but he later died in hospital.
It is thought that the 43-year-old was originally from St Helens and had travelled to Bolton and chosen to squat in the empty property which is next to Foster’s hair salon and opposite the Orlando Bridge.
After being rescued from the house, he showed no signs of life and paramedics worked at the roadside to try to revive him before taking him to hospital.
Yesterday the police and fire services began a joint investigation to try to discover the cause of the fire and to identify the dead man.
The investigation has been made more difficult by the substantial damage to the inside of the house.
Neighbour Leon Blears, aged 27, said: “I didn’t know his name but I met him last week in the town centre and he told me where he was staying, which was next to where I live.
"He said he was from St Helens and was just visiting Bolton —I don't know how he ended up squatting in that house.
“I looked in on him one time and he was just lying in a dark room with a blanket. It was freezing in there.”
Another neighbour, David Bootle, aged 53, said: “I thought the place was empty but it sounds like someone was squatting there. I think what has happened is awful. Perhaps he was just trying to keep warm.”
The two firefighters who first entered the house received medical attention at the scene after suffering heat exhaustion.
Incident commander Wayne Guffogg said: “Checking them was a precautionary measure because of how hard they were working, but they are both well. They did a great job.”
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “The cause of the fire is not yet known and a joint investigation is underway with the fire and rescue service to establish both the cause of the man's death and the fire.
“Our inquiries are ongoing.”
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