Man dies in Harrogate house fire LATEST

An elderly man has died in a fierce fire which engulfed his home in Harrogate.

The identity and sex of the person was not immediately confirmed by police, but they said that the man who lived at the semi-detached house in Birch Grove had not yet been accounted for.

The house was so badly damaged it was left unsafe and had to be shored-up later. A joint investigation by experts from North Yorkshire Service and North Yorkshire Police was launched into the cause of the fire which was not immediately known.

Fire crews were called to the terrace property at 1.22am and were confronted with a fierce blaze when they reached the address shortly afterwards.

Two fire engines were initially sent to the incident from Harrogate Fire Station, but on their arrival this was immediately upgrade to a total of five appliances including an aerial ladder platform and units from nearby Knaresborough, Ripon and Tadcaster fire stations.

Crews wearing breathing apparatus tackled the flames with hose reels and specialist equipment.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Fire Service described the incident as a "very very severe fire"#

A structural engineer declared the house needed shoring up to prevent collapse.

IT security consultant John Grundy moved into the property adjoining the fire-hit semi-detached home in October.

Mr Grundy, 36, said: "An old gentleman lives there alone, he was quiet and kept himself to himself."

"We'd just say 'hi' and 'good morning' to each other. He seemed quite well known in the community, though - I think he was ex-forces."

Describing the fire drama, Mr Grundy said: "We were woken up at about half one by the sound of the gentleman shouting and banging. We went outside and two lads who had been passing by were trying to get in and get him out. They did as much as they could but it was impossible. When the window was smashed with a brick, you couldn't see for the smoke inside."

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Nicola Saunders-Jones and Jack Bean who were exhibiting their fashion brand "Offend My Eyes" in Whitby for the first day of Goth Weekend.  Friday 21 April 2017. w171605a
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