Essex

Southend workman praised for attempted rescue of woman, 82

A workman went into a burning building in Essex five times to find a trapped 82-year-old woman, an inquest was told.

Matt Saunders, from Leigh on Sea, found Joyce Buckenham in a downstairs bedroom where flames had reached the ceiling.

He carried her outside her home in Oakhurst Road, Southend, but she died three days later in hospital.

In a narrative verdict at Southend Magistrates' Court, coroner Yvonne Blake said she died from injuries caused by the fire in August last year.

Southend fire station commander Martin Hodder said the fire had started in a waste paper basket next to a gas fire in the bedroom.

The inquest had heard earlier Mrs Buckenham had been a heavy smoker.

The coroner praised Mr Saunders' "refreshing heroism".

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