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Death of man in Audenshaw fire treated as suspicious

Police have identified a man who died following a fire at a guest house in Audenshaw. At about 4pm on Saturday, police were called by the fire service following a blaze at a block of flats on Manchester Road.

A 57-year-old man sustained serious injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene despite the efforts of firefighters.

He has been identified as John McHale. Police have since confirmed he is a registered sex offender although there is no suggestion he was targeted over his criminal past, officers are treating the death as suspicious at this stage.

“Firstly, our thoughts go out to John's family who are being supported by specially trained officers at this sad time.

"This is a tragedy and we are determined to find out exactly what happened and why. We are treating John McHale’s death as suspicious and are keeping an open mind about the circumstances leading up to his death.

"Forensic experts and specialists from the fire service and police will be continuing their investigations at the scene.

"Officers will be on hand to talk to any residents who may be concerned by what has happened and I would like to urge them or anyone else who might have information that could assist to come and speak to us or call us in absolute confidence

– Detective Inspector Richard Ennis


Man dies in Tameside flat fire

Police at the scene of the fatal fire on Manchester Road, Audenshaw Credit: Amy Welch, ITV Granada Reports

A man thought to be in his 50s has died following a fire in a third floor flat in Audenshaw.

Police were called to a guest house by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service on Manchester Road following reports smoke was seen coming from the top floor yesterday teatime.

Officers found a man in his 50s had been pulled from the block of flats by firefighters.

However, the man sustained serious injuries as a result of the fire and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of the fire is not yet known but members of both the Police Scenes of Crime and the Fire Service's Fire Investigation teams were called to investigate this afternoon.

A joint investigation is underway to establish both the cause of the man's death and the fire.

Inspector Jonathan Clarke from Tameside division, said: "We are working with our colleagues from the fire service to establish how this fire, which has tragically claimed the life of the occupant, started.

“Anyone who has any information about the incident please get in touch and call us on 101 or independent charity Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.”

GMFRS Borough Manager Andy Heywood, who oversees the Manchester area, said that whilst the man could not be saved a sprinkler system in place at the property had ensured other residents were able to escape.

He added: "We were called to a fire in this property about five years ago and subsequently have worked with the owner to make it as safe as possible, which resulted in a sprinkler system being installed.

Whilst this hasn't saved the life of this man it was instrumental in saving much of the property itself and, more importantly, ensuring other residents were able to make an escape. It is an excellent example of the difference sprinkler systems make to incidents."

Residents of the guesthouse were not able to return to the accommodation due to the damage to the rooms on the lower floors of the property being damaged. They were supported at the scene by members of the Red Cross who we're operating the Fire Emergency Service Support (FESS) vehicle.