Cumbria

Pategill sheltered home blaze: Body found

Lonsdale Court
Image caption Neighbours - including elderly people from sheltered accommodation - had to leave their homes and shelter at Penrith Leisure Centre

Firefighters searching for a 73-year-old man missing since his flat was destroyed in a blaze have found a body in the unstable building.

About 30 elderly and vulnerable people had to leave their sheltered accommodation during the blaze in Lonsdale Court, in Pategill, Penrith.

The man, who lived in the flat, had not been seen since the blaze broke out at about 09:40 GMT on Saturday.

The missing man's family has been informed.

Those led to safety were found places at care homes overnight, police said.

Earlier Kevin Johnston, spokesman for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, said the flat was on the verge of collapse, but it was made stable enough for a search team to go in and find the body.

Image caption The building was stabilised so firefighters could go in and recover the body

Insp Andy Hanson, of Cumbria Police, said: "This has been a distressing incident for all involved, and sadly we are now able to confirm that one person died in the fire.

"We are now working hard to secure the building to allow the other residents to return to their flats - this is expected to take a considerable amount of time."

Many of the residents were taken to Penrith Leisure Centre and an appeal for warm clothes and toiletries was made.

Cumbria Police said they were inundated with donations and now had enough.

Insp Hanson said: "I would like to reiterate our thanks local community.

"We have been so impressed and grateful for the way everyone has come together and donated supplies and help for the residents affected by the fire.

"It is a testament to the community spirit and kindness of people living in Penrith."

Image caption The blaze was so intense that neighbours had to leave their homes

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