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Father-of-three died after running into his burning flat to save dog

PUBLISHED: 16:25 09 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:25 09 January 2018

Police remained at the scene of the fire in Roman Road, Lowestoft a day after the blaze as investigations were carried out. Photo: George Ryan

Police remained at the scene of the fire in Roman Road, Lowestoft a day after the blaze as investigations were carried out. Photo: George Ryan

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A "kind and loving" father-of-three from Lowestoft died after running into his burning flat to save his dog, an inquest has heard.

Bricklayer Carl Bell, 52, died on December 2, 2016, from smoke inhalation after a fire broke out in his first floor flat on Roman Road.

The inquest heard he was visiting his friend on the ground floor when, just before noon, when he was told there was thick smoke and flames coming out of his home.

According to a statement from his friend Peter Freeman, on hearing about the blaze Mr Bell ran straight upstairs to try and rescue his beloved Staffordshire Bull terrier Munchie.

It read: “I told him ‘get out, there’s a fire in your flat Carl.

“He then said ‘where’s my dog, I am going to get Munchie.’

“Carl disappeared into the smoke and that was the last time I saw him.”

Mr Bell’s body, and that of Munchie, were later discovered by firefighters just yards away from each other in his flat.

A fire investigation report, conducted by Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, revealed the blaze most likely started due to an electric heater that had been left on in the flat.

The report said it was likely a wax jacket that had been drying close to the heater had caught alight, or that Mr Bell’s dog had knocked the electric fire onto the carpet.

Giving a conclusion of accidental death, Suffolk area coroner Nigel Parsley praised the courage of firefighters who entered the building to check for casualties.

Mr Bell’s sister Pippa Ward, who also thanked the firefighters for their bravery, described her brother as a “very loving person” who was always there to lend his friends a hand.

She said: “He was always there to help people out and he was very kind. Carl was a very loving person, he was very friendly and would give away everything he had to help someone.

“The dog meant so much to him because it belonged to his past partner who died of cancer.

“He will be missed.”

A post mortem examination showed Mr Bell had died as a result of smoke inhalation and alcohol excess.

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