POLICE and fire chiefs have launched a joint investigation into the cause of a fire that claimed a man's life.

Firefighters were called to the detached home in Burlam Road, Linthorpe, Middlesbrough at 10.20am today (Tuesday).

The road was closed off as the fire was brought under control.

The dead man, whose details have not been released, was the only occupant of the property.

He is thought to be in his 50s.

A woman living nearby who made the call to the emergency services, said: “I wasn’t even sure it was a fire when I called, but I could smell burning.

"It was while I was talking on the phone and went out on the street that you could see smoke. It was really quick.

“It’s very sad, he was a quiet gentleman. I would say he was in his 50s.”

Another neighbour, from the other side of the burning property, said: “There was thick, black smoke. You couldn’t see out of the window it was so thick.

“It’s very sad to hear that he’s died. He very much kept himself to himself. He’d been living there a few years.”

Speaking on an online forum Trisha Bingham said: “RIP. So sad, just round the corner from me. Thinking of his family.”

The kitchen of the house was completely destroyed by fire, while the conservatory and dining room were severely damaged by heat and smoke.

The rest of the house also suffered serious heat and smoke damage.

Two fire engines, one from Middlesbrough and one from Thornaby, attended and firefighters used four breathing apparatus.

An ambulance was also called and the man was pronounced dead at the scene. 

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: "On arrival, it was confirmed that unfortunately a person had been found deceased in the property.

"It is believed this person was the only occupant.

“A joint investigation into the cause of the fire has commenced, with enquiries at an early stage."