Hoarder killed after getting trapped under his own junk as fire broke out


A hoarder died after he became trapped by piles of cluttered possessions as a massive fire ripped through his home in a block of flats.

Robert Crane, 61, a talented musician, was heard screaming from his seventh floor flat as the ferocious blaze took hold.

It is thought Robert, also known as Bob, was unable to escape the flames due to the amount of clutter in his home.

Neighbours say Robert, who lived alone, hoarded all kinds of things – including piles of GUITARS and AMPS.

Locals residents, who paid tribute to the “kind and caring” man, added they had warned the council on several occasions that he needed help.

Susan Hill, 40, who lived directly below him, said: “He was a lovely bloke, really kind and caring.

“He didn’t have a bad bone in his body. He used to love music and would play it on the weekends.

“Unfortunately he probably did get trapped in there. The council had been told time and time again and they just seem to have done nothing.

“It was no good just talking to him. Something needed to be done. People said he needed to go to a residential place to be looked after properly.”

More than 100 people were evacuated from the tower block in Kingsdown, Bristol, after the fire broke out.

Around 40 fire-fighters battled the flames at around 11am on Saturday morning. Crews were unable to reach Bob, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Another resident, Richard Angove, 46, who lives on the fourth floor of the building with his two children, said he could here Bob’s screams for help.

He added that it was a miracle no one else was hurt during the blaze, excluding those treated for shock.

He said: “I heard (Bob) screaming, saying ‘fire’. There was a lot of movement, but the flat is a mess. It was terrible.

“There was rubbish everywhere in there. Amps and guitars were stacked up and the corridor was virtually blocked.

“I had complained to the council but nobody helped him. They had been up there to try and clean it out but I don’t know what happened.

“I thought before that he’s going to kill someone or kill himself one day. I just find it a disgrace that it has come to this.”

A spokesperson for Avon Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that an investigation into the fire was underway but that it had not yet concluded.

It is thought that Robert had lived in the property for around 14 years.

A spokesperson for Bristol City Council added: “This has been a tragic incident and our thoughts are with everyone involved.

“Before the fire service establishes the cause of the fire and the outcome of any subsequent inquest is published it would be inappropriate for the council to comment on how or if the fire could have been prevented.”


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