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45-year-old man dies in early morning Sedgefield flat blaze
AN investigation is underway into a blaze which claimed the life of a 45-year-old man in Sedgefield, County Durham, in the early hours of this morning.
Emergency services went to the ground floor flat in Wellgarth Mews at 1.45am after a nearby resident smelt gas and raised the alarm.
There were reports that a fire had broken out and that at least one person may be trapped.
Firefighters forced their way inside, extinguised the blaze and rescued the 45-year-old man. Sadly, he was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
Incident commander Tony John said: "There was a smoke alarm in the property but unfortunately it was not working. It is so important to have a working smoke alarm as it doubles your chance of escaping from a house fire."
Brigade area manager Andy Hopkin said: "Our fire investigators are working closely with police to establish the cause of the fire.
"County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service would like to express our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the deceased."
Fire crews from Sedgefield, Newton Aycliffe and Wheatley Hill attended.
He added that officers would remain in the immediate area to offer free fire safety checks and ensure householders had working smoking alarms and an escape plan in the event of a fire.