UPDATE: Fatal Earby house fire was caused by ‘smoking materials’

Police and fire investigators at the house in Barnwood Crescent, where 82-year-old Douglas Hurst died on Monday evening.
Police and fire investigators at the house in Barnwood Crescent, where 82-year-old Douglas Hurst died on Monday evening.

A fatal house fire in Earby on Monday evening is believed to have been caused by a smoking accident.

Douglas Hurst, an 82-year-old widower who lived alone at the house in Barnwood Crescent, died in the blaze before firefighters could reach him.

A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue service said: “The investigation is still underway and we can’t absolutely rule out other cuases but we believe it was a smoking mishap. Exactly what happened is still being looked at.”

Mr Hurst was found in the living room of the property, where investigators said the fire had started.

Crews from Earby, Colne and Barnoldswick were called to the detached bungalow at 5-15 p.m.

When the Earby firefighters arrived, they were told by neighbours that somebody was believed to be in the house.

A neighbour had tried to kick down the door of the property but was forced back by the thick black smoke and heat.

Six firefighters entered the bungalow wearing breathing apparatus and found the man, but despite their best efforts he died in the fire.

Barnoldswick Watch Manager Mick Strickland said: “It started in the living room of the house, which is where the fire was contained, although there was extensive smoke damage throughout the property.

“There was a smoke alarm in the house, but the investigators will check to see if it was working.”

Firefighters renewed their appeal for residents to take advantage of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service’s offer of free 10-year smoke alarms through their Home Fire Safety Checks.

To book a free home safety check call free on 0800 169 1125 or visit www.lancsfirerescue.org.uk

More on this story in this week’s Barnoldswick and Earby Times