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Man dies in fire after falling asleep with lit cigarette

Essex fire service warn about the dangers of smoking at home after man dies in fire. Credit: PA Images

A man has died following a fire in his flat in Colchester last night (Wednesday 8 November).

The Ambulance Service were already at the scene of the ground floor flat after being alerted by a concerned neighbour.

When fire crews arrived, the fire had largely burnt itself out.

The Fire Investigator, Lee Lucas, said:

"Following a joint fire and police investigation we believe this incident to be accidental, caused when the man fell asleep on the sofa with a lit cigarette which fell onto the sofa, setting it alight.

"This tragic accident serves to highlight the dangers of smoking of the home, and the devastating consequences they can cause. Cigarettes burn at 700 degrees Celsius and can easily set combustible items, such as sofas and beds and clothing, alight.

"We want to urge all smokers to follow our safety advice and stay safe in their home and ensure they have a working alarm."

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Girl sexually assaulted in woodland in Colchester

Police investigate sexual assault in Colchester. Credit: PA Images

Police are appealing for information following a sexual assault on a girl in an area of woodland off Gavin Way, Colchester.

The incident occurred between 8.30am and 9am on Monday, October 30.

An area search was carried out and the girl is currently being supported by specialist officers.

The suspect is described as a white man who is over 5ft 9in tall, of medium build with short brown, scruffy hair.

He was wearing a navy blue or black thigh length zipped coat with dark coloured trousers (not jeans) and dark brown leather gloves.

If you have dash cam footage or witnessed the assault contact police on 101.

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The Grade Two listed Victorian building has fallen into disrepair but now there are plans to convert it into a restaurant.

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