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Firefighter deaths: inquest latest

The inquest into the deaths of two firemen who died tackling a large blaze at a block of flats in Southampton opens today. A jury will be sworn in to hear evidence how Alan Bannon and James Shears lost their lives just over two years ago.

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Firefighters had 'no change of escape'

Two firefighters died because a "massive escalation" in a blaze in a high-rise flat in Southampton caused temperatures to reach hundreds of degrees, making it impossible for them to escape, an inquest has heard.

Conditions were so bad that it was not known at first that Alan Bannon, 38, and James Shears, 35, were missing. They were among the first to reach the blaze in the 15-storey building, Shirley Towers, on April 6 2010.

It was 45 minutes before colleagues could reach the two men in the ninth-floor flat. Southampton Coroner Keith Wiseman said Mr Bannon was pronounced dead at the scene and Mr Shears died later in Southampton General Hospital where attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

The inquest continues.

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