A fatal fire had been deemed 'accidental' by the investigating authorities.

Essex Fire and Rescue service has ruled a flat fire in Woodland Grove, Epping, which claimed the life of a man began as an 'accidental kitchen fire'.

The fire, which spread to the roof of the three storey building, started at about 7am on Saturday, June 21.

Residents of the surrounding flats had to evacuate the building as fire crews worked on the blaze - reported 'under control' by 8.30am.

Essex Police has confirmed a man died at the scene.

Fire Investigator Mark Earwicker said: “Earlier reports suggested this fire started on the ground floor of the block of flats, however, I can confirm it started in a top floor flat before spreading to the roof and adjoining building.

“Following our fire investigation we now know that the fire started in the open plan kitchen lounge area. We have recorded the cause as accidental but because of the extent of fire damage in the flat it’s difficult to determine exactly how the fire started.

“We believe this was a tragic accident where a man sadly lost his life, and, over the coming days and weeks, we will be working hard to spread our safety messages and offer reassurance and advice to residents.

“As always, our message to every single person in the county is to make sure they have a working smoke alarm on every level of their home. It will alert you to the first sign of fire and give you more time to get out, stay out and call 999.”

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