Reading fire: Bodies recovered from scene of blaze at block of flats

Four people were treated in hospital while another seven received medical care. Credit: ITV News Meridian

The bodies of two people who died in a fire at a block of flats in Reading have now been removed from the site.

They were taken to hospital after the area was made safe to enter, following the blaze in Rowe Court on 15 December.

Post mortem examinations for both people are anticipated to take place this week, as well as formal identification. Their families are being supported throughout the process.Four people were treated in hospital while another seven received medical care from ambulance crews at the scene following the fire.

Scaffolding was put up around the building to make it safe for emergency services to enter. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Once the fire was out, scaffolding was put around the building. Significant structural damage created a high risk of walls collapsing and therefore emergency services needed to ensure it was safe enough to go in and recover the bodies.

It remains part of a crime scene, and work will continue over the coming weeks to dismantle the building.

Superintendent Steve Raffield, local area policing commander for Reading, said: “I know that today has been a very difficult and emotional day for a lot of people connected to this incident, especially for the families of the deceased.

“I am pleased that following such a long and complex recovery process that we have been able to safely remove those who were inside, and I hope that this is some comfort to their families."

Firefighters at the scene in Grovelands Road Credit: Marc Ward/PA

Jason Brock, Reading Borough Council Leader, said: “The thoughts of everybody in Reading are firmly with the families of those people whose bodies were recovered by our emergency service colleagues.

“More than six weeks have now passed since the horrific fire at Rowe Court, but for those affected the impact is as real today as it was on December 15. For the families who lost loved ones, it will never pass."

Hakeem Kigundu, 31, has been charged with murder and arson with intent to endanger life. He is due before Reading Crown Court in February.