Fatal fire is suspected arson, say police

By Richard Vernalls, PA

A fire at a flat in which a pensioner died is being treated as suspected arson by police.

Malcolm Turner, 69, was found collapsed in his maisonette in Jenner Street, Coventry, at about 4.25am on Tuesday, after reports of a fire.

He was pronounced dead at the scene and a post-mortem examination to establish the precise cause of death is set to take place on Thursday, according to West Midlands Police.

Emergency services at the scene in Jenner Street, Coventry (Jacob King/PA)

Detectives believe the fire may have started when a mobility scooter outside the apartment block was deliberately torched.

Officers are linking the fire to a second blaze reported 20 minutes later, in nearby Foleshill Road, which is also being treated as deliberate.

In the second suspected arson attack, rubbish, including a mattress, is thought to have been dumped near a multi-occupancy property and set alight, with the flames spreading to the front door of a terraced home.

In that incident everyone got out safely and nobody was injured, police said.

Remains of what appear to be a mobility scooter near the flat where Mr Turner died (Jacob King/PA)

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Munro said: “We are treating the two fires as potentially linked and that both were set intentionally.

“Clearly lighting fires in residential areas is hugely reckless as the flames can be blown towards homes, putting property and lives at risk.

“Tragically a man has lost his life and we have a specially-trained family liaison officer helping his loved ones at this difficult time.

“If anyone has any information about the fires or saw anything suspicious in the area on Tuesday morning then I’d urge them to make contact.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 101, via the force website, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.