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Police cannot trace fire victim's family

PUBLISHED: 09:30 26 March 2009 | UPDATED: 13:27 03 July 2010

Police and a coroner have been unable to find the sons and daughter of an elderly man who died in a Yarmouth bungalow fire, it was revealed last night.

Police and a coroner have been unable to find the sons and daughter of an elderly man who died in a Yarmouth bungalow fire, it was revealed last night.

Alan Austin, 75, died during a blaze at a borough council-run sheltered- housing bungalow complex in Wherry Way, off Caister Road on Sunday, February 15.

Yesterday, the Yarmouth coroner's office confirmed Mr Austin's name and age after the five-week search to find his children was called off.

Coroner's officer Steve Haughton said it was believed that Mr Austin's daughter had moved to America but no contact details could be found for her and the whereabouts of his two sons was also unknown.

Mr Haughton said: “The alleged next-of-kin have not been found.”

On February 19, an inquest was opened and adjourned in Yarmouth and during the short hearing, Mr Austin's cause of death was given as smoke inhalation.

The fatal blaze started at about 1am and firefighters found Mr Austin's body in the flat.

Another male occupant of the property managed to escape the fire after he was guided out by staff at the complex.

After the incident, a Norfolk Fire Service spokesman said: “The actions of the carer/warden were very quick and very appropriate. “Our sympathies are with the family of the man who died.”

Police and the fire service said the cause of the blaze was not suspicious.

No date has been set for the full inquest into the death of Mr Austin.

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