A 17-year-old boy who was killed when a massive blaze tore through a magic shop has been named as Thomas Taylor.
Around 50 firefighters battled the inferno that broke out on a quiet residential street in Lincoln at around 4.30pm on Monday (21/12).
Crews fought overnight to extinguish the blaze which set off a series of explosions and billowed smoke into the air, which could be seen from miles around.
On Tuesday (22/12) police confirmed they had found the body of a teenager in the burnt out flat, which sits above the MagicNevin shop.
It emerged Tom, who lived at the property with his twin brother Jack, mum Helen, 46, and step-dad Max Clark, 49, had died in the fire on Wednesday (23/12).
His headteacher as well as friends have paid tribute to the “kind-hearted” and “popular” sixth form student.
He was described as a music lover and was a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and attended The Priory Witham Academy, in Lincoln.
Headteacher Andrew Madge said: “We are deeply saddened to learn that Tom has lost his life in this tragedy.
“Tom was such a kind-hearted person and a very well-known member of his year group and the school as a whole.
“He excelled in all that he did and had a particular love of music, being a member of the school band.
“He had settled exceptionally well into Year 12 at LSST and was thoroughly enjoying his Sixth Form studies.
“Tom had an extremely wide friendship group and was very popular with staff as well as his fellow students.
“He will be deeply missed by everyone and our thoughts are very much with his family and friends at such a difficult time.
“There is a huge sense of shock among all the Priory pupils who knew Tom.
“We will be making counselling available to students at Witham and LSST when the new term begins in January.”
His Tae Kwon Do instructor Mandhir Bolla added: “He will be sorely missed and we will not forget him.
“When someone passes away, naturally or through terrible circumstances, people always praise that person.
“So should I be different? That’s impossible with Tom.
“In the six years I’ve known him, I can say with confidence that he did not have a bad bone in his body.
“As a student of Tae Kwon Do, he was one of the best in the club.
“He was one of those students that every instructor wishes the rest of the class was like.
“He was hard working, polite, did as he was asked, basically a perfect student.
“If there were more people like him in the world, it would be a better place.
“Those of us who knew him, can and will say that we were lucky to be blessed by his presence.
“God bless his soul, and his family.”
Pal Mark Wilkinson posted on Facebook: “Thoughts go out to the Taylor family this Christmas! Was a pleasure working with the lad on the pantomime! R.I.P Tom, such a tragedy at Christmas time. Can’t believe it.”
Police believe Tom perished in the blaze but said they were awaiting formal identification before they could confirm officially.
Detective Inspector Mark Blackbourn, from Lincolnshire Police, said: “Our investigation into the fire is continuing but at this stage I have nothing that leads me to believe it was suspicious.
“We are still treating it as unexplained until we can say with absolute clarity what caused it to break out.
“We are still not yet in a position to be able to officially name the person who died as a result of the fire because formal identification has not yet been carried out but we do believe it to be 17-year-old Thomas Taylor.
“Our hearts go out to his family. As you’d expect, they are devastated.
“To lose their son at any time of the year would be heartbreaking but it is even more poignant at Christmas time.
“We have put measures in place to help and support them as best as we can and I’ve assured them that we are doing our utmost to get to the bottom of this and find out exactly what happened.
“We are grateful to all the people who have contacted us so far and I’d like to reiterate that appeal, the more information we have the better we can build a wider picture of how this tragedy occurred.”