Man dies in flats fire

SCENE OF TRAGEDY: The flat where the fire took place.
SCENE OF TRAGEDY: The flat where the fire took place.

A MAN was found dead in his Grangepans flat by firefighters on Monday lunchtime, after they were alerted by a concerned neighbour who had noticed the windows were blackened.

There had been a fire in his council-rented property but it was out when Green Watch crew from Bo’ness Fire Station arrived shortly after the emergency call came through at 11.51am.

The deceased’s identity has not yet been released but it is thought he was in his 40s.

At this point fire chiefs say the fire seems to have been a ‘tragic accident’ and a probe is ongoing into its origins, the cause of death and the timescales.

The victim reportedly lived alone in the one-bedroomed flat and it seems no-one had been aware of the fire itself happening.

On Tuesday morning the smoke-blackened double-glazed windows at the side and back of the property were visible and traces of smoke could be seen on the side harling where it had come through window vents.

Curtains were drawn at the rear of the flat.

Locals told the Journal and Gazette of their shock at the incident in the first floor end property above the Grangepans Premier store.

One person, who did not wish to be named, said of the deceased: “He was a nice fellow, always a gentleman.”

Customer advisor Gregg Kirk, who stays in adjacent Cairns Lane with his wife and two sons, said: “I was at the gym and when I came back at about 1.30pm there was a fire engine and police cars here.

“There was an unmarked police car with lights on and a van.

“I could see the CID were here, so I thought it was something a bit more than just a fire.”

Of the death, the 31-year-old said: “It’s a sad thing to hear, it’s always sad to hear that somebody’s been killed.”

Fellow Cairns Lane resident Lee Stewart witnessed several police vehicles at the scene.

Lee (30), a home care worker who is between jobs, said: “I have been caught in a house fire myself, three or four years ago in Kirriemuir, so I know it’s pretty nasty.”

Bo’ness Fire Station manager Tom Penman said: “When we arrived at the premises, we discovered the fire had already extinguished itself.

“The fire originated in the livingroom and our investigations are continuing to establish the cause however at this stage, this appears to be a tragic accident which has resulted in a loss of a life.”

It was the fire service who swiftly called out the police.

A Central Scotland Police spokeswoman said: “A man has died following a fire in a flat in Bo’ness.

“The alarm was raised around noon on Monday, March 26, by neighbours in Grangepans. When the emergency services attended the body of a man was discovered.

“He has not yet been named but is believed to be in his 40s.

“The fire is not believed to be suspicious and inquiries are continuing.

“His name will be released once the formal identification process has been carried out.

“A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”