Fatal Clacton flat fire 'started by portable heater'

Essex Police car

A man died in a "tragic accident" after a portable heater caught light in a flat, the fire service has said.

Crews were called to a flat in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, on Monday after a neighbour smelled smoke at 09:05 GMT.

After entering the property, in Langham Drive, firefighters discovered the man's body.

Fire investigator Lee Hurst said the area first affected by the fire "had a portable halogen heater and an electrical extension lead".

He added: "Following the fire investigation, we now know that the fire started in the lounge.

"This was a tragic accident and, over the coming days and weeks, we will be working hard to spread our safety messages and offer reassurance and advice to residents to try and make sure this doesn't happen again."

Essex Fire Service advises that portable heaters are never left unattended or switched on while people sleep.

They should also never be powered by extension leads either, as these can easily be overloaded and cause a blaze, the fire service said.

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