Investigation continues into fire

21 May 2010, 14:43 | Updated: 21 May 2010, 16:10

Police say they have identified the person who died in a fire at a block of flats in Stroud on Wednesday.

She was a 48-year-old local woman, her  family have been informed.

The cause of the fire is still not known and an investigation by Gloucestershire Constabulary, with the support of the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, continues.

Chief Superintendent Gary Thompson said;

“We are doing all we can to find out how the fire started and we continue to work with a specialist, trained in identifying the cause of fires, to ascertain this information. We remain open minded as to the cause.”

Residents from the block of flats were evacuated from the building following the fire and have been temporarily housed elsewhere, but it could be six weeks before they are allowed back in.

Chief Superintendent Thompson continued;

“We understand it must be very distressing for the residents not to be able to return to their homes and we would like to say thank you to them for their patience and their support of our investigation.

“We will continue to do all we can to support them, with our partner agencies, during this difficult time.”

Councillor Debbie Young, cabinet member for housing for Stroud District Council, said:

‘Unfortunately the damage to the block of flats is extensive, so it could be six weeks before residents can return to their homes. Part of the building is still cordoned off by police. Once we have access to this area we will be able to make a further structural assessment, focusing on damage to the roof. We are in direct contact with all affected residents and are making arrangements to house them until they can move back. Some may wish to stay with family and friends whilst we can place others in bed and breakfasts. 20 adults and three children from 16 council properties, and a further 2 private flats are affected. We are in close contact with them throughout this difficult time so that we can help as much as we can.’

Anyone with any information about the fire, that hasn’t yet spoken to police, is asked to contact Gloucestershire Constabulary on 0845 090 1234 quoting incident number 389 of May 19. Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.