Blind man who died in flat fire in Alvaston described as 'local legend'

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A blind man whose body was found in a flat following a fire has been described as “lovely” and a “local legend” by friends.

Firefighters discovered the 60-year-old man in his ground-floor home in Brighton Road, Alvaston, in the early hours of Friday.

The man has been named locally as Phillip King – known to friends as Pip.

Neighbour John Malpass said: “I’ve known him for 20 years and I’ve lived next door to him for the last eight. He was always a pleasure to be around and a bit of a local legend.

A man has died in a flat fire in Brighton Road, Alvaston, in the early hours of Friday

A man has died in a flat fire in Brighton Road, Alvaston, in the early hours of Friday

“He was registered blind and would drink in the Navigation Inn and sometimes the Coronation pub.

“He would start up a conversation with anyone he could overhear. The community often helped him out if he was struggling to find his way around.”

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Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service were called at 12.50am. The man was dead by the time crews from Ascot Drive, Kingsway and Nottingham Road fire stations arrived at the scene.

Investigators believe the fire was started accidentally, with the most likely cause being "smoking materials".

Neighbours paid tribute to Phillip King

Neighbours paid tribute to Phillip King

Mr Malpass added: “I was falling asleep in my living room when the fire broke out so I didn’t notice anything until the firefighters arrived.

“Luckily the people who lived above Phil were more vigilant and smelt smoke and called the fire service. They’ve got a baby so it could’ve been much worse. Unfortunately, Phil wasn’t lucky enough to survive.”

The property is owned by Derby City Council and managed by Derby Homes.

A council spokesman said: “We can confirm that there has been a house fire at a property on Brighton Road overnight. Sadly, there has been a fatality.

“We are currently working with Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service to ascertain the cause of the fire and will be offering appropriate support within the local community.”

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Fire station manager Chris Smith said: “Firefighters were called to the property on Brighton Road in the early hours of this morning following a neighbour reporting the smell of smoke.”

The property was fitted with a working smoke alarm which had been activated.

Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “He was a great man and was well-known in the area.

“It’s terrible what’s happened to him. He was registered blind and I know a few neighbours used to help him out and check-up on him sometimes.

“I didn’t hear or see the firefighters last night but I heard the awful news this morning. I would like to send my best wishes to his family and friends.”

A friend, who also wished to remain anonymous, said people knew Mr King him as Pip. The pal said he was a twin and his brother’s name is Stephen.

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