A man has died after a fire tore through his home when a huge ‘multi-shot’ lit FIREWORK was shoved through his letterbox and exploded more than 200 times.
Anthony Nicholls, 56, could be heard screaming as he desperately tried to smash windows so that he and his partner Marie, 50, could escape the flames.
Police say the fire started when a lit box of fireworks containing 200 tubes of explosives – normally used at commercial displays – was put through their letterbox.
Firefighters dashed to their £150,000 semi-detached property in Birchtress Drive in Tile Cross, Birmingham after receiving a 999 call at 11pm last Thursday (2/11).
The former hardware store worker was rushed to hospital with 60 per cent burns and placed in an induced coma following the blaze.
Yesterday (Tue) West Midlands Police confirmed Mr Nicholls had died from his injuries and the force is now treating the case as a murder enquiry.
Marie continues to be treated for fractures to her lower limbs after jumping from a first floor window.
Detective Inspector Paul Joyce said: “Sadly one of the victims of this fire has died and our thoughts are with his family and partner at their time of loss.
“His death means that we are now treating this as a murder enquiry and I would like to re-emphasise the need for anyone with information to call us.
“We are following up several active lines of enquiry and are focusing on CCTV from the local community. If you have any home CCTV that we have not yet seen please call us.
“The impact would have been terrifying for the occupants and I would urge anyone who sold or is missing a firework of this size to get in touch.
“This would have been a large heavy firework that would have been difficult to carry some distance, so I would ask anyone who saw someone carrying a large box in the area last Thursday night to contact us.
“Any information no matter how insignificant if may seem to you could help our investigation.”
Detectives are examining potential links between the attack and reports of criminal damage at the couple’s home days earlier where their windows were smashed.
Detective Chief Inspector Sarah Burton said: “There would have been two minutes of fireworks going off inside the property, causing extensive fire damage.
“It would have been terrifying. We are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident or with CCTV to come forward.
“These fireworks can be bought from some supermarkets and online retailers but we are trying to work out where it came from.
“The motive for this targeted attack is unknown.
“Forensic examinations are continuing inside the property and we expect an update later this week.”
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