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Flat fire victim died from smoke inhalation - two arrested

Two men have been arrested following the death of a man in a Coventry flat fire after a post mortem examination found he died from smoke inhalation. Police have also revealed they are probing a series of smaller fires in the area over recent weeks.

A 43-year-old was arrested on suspicion of murder and a 45-year-old was detained for criminal damage overnight. They both remain in custody today (23 August).

Fire crews were called to the property in Jenner Street, Foleshill, at 4.25am on Tuesday after reports the maisonette had gone up in flames.

Resident Malcolm Turner, aged 69, was found collapsed inside and sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

Malcolm Turner
Two arrested following fires in Coventry - Malcolm Turner died from smoke inhalation

It’s believed the blaze was started deliberately when Mr Turner’s mobility scooter was set alight outside the apartment block.

Detectives suspect the blaze is linked to a second fire reported 20 minutes later in Foleshill Road where a dumped mattress was torched and flames spread to nearby properties.

And the investigation will now also look at a series of bin and rubbish fires that have been reported to West Midlands Fire Service in recent weeks to determine if they are also connected.

West Midlands Police Detective Chief Inspector Jim Munro is leading the investigation and has appealed for any motorists who were driving in the Foleshill Road and surrounding area on Monday night into Tuesday morning to get in touch.

He said: “Anyone who was driving in Foleshill Road, Lockhurst Lane, Harnell Lane West, Stoney Stanton Road or Leicester Causeway from midnight to 6am on Tuesday morning may have caught something important on dash-cam or seen something suspicious.

“I’d urge them to get in touch as they may have important evidence.

“We also understand there have been other small fires in the area in recent weeks, including rubbish and bin fires, a skip fire and another that damaged a wooden fence. We’ll be looking at these to determine if there are any links.

“There will be people in the community who know or suspect people who are responsible for these arsons and I’d urge them to get in touch so we can get justrice for Malcolm and his family.

“Clearly lighting fires in residential areas is hugely reckless as the flames can be blown towards homes, putting property and lives at risk - and we’ve seen this week it can have tragic consequences."

Meanwhile Mr Turner’s family have issued a tribute in which they’ve described him as “an unassuming and generous man".

It reads: “Our family has been devastated by the death of Malcolm. He was an unassuming man and was generous to his family and friends… a kind, loving son, brother and husband. 

“Over the past years Malcolm had suffered from several strokes and survived. It is hard to believe he has been taken from us in these circumstances. We’d ask anyone with any information about who has committed this terrible act to tell the police."

People can contact West Midlands Police on 101 or via Live Chat at WMP Online. Alternatively call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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