Wellingborough man’s fire death an accident

Steven Chennell
Steven Chennell

A man who died in a fire in an empty home in Wellingborough was killed in a tragic accident, a coroner has ruled.

Steven Chennell was 48 years old when he died in the fire at the home in Midland Road in March this year.

His inquest was held in Kettering last week.

The inquest heard that Mr Chennell was one of three people squatting at the property, which had been abandoned by its previous owner and had no electricity or running water.

The statement of a man who lived next door to the property at the time of the fire, Jonathan Coventry, was read out at the inquest.

In it, he said he was alerted to the blaze when smoke alarms in his house began sounding. He said he discovered a man and young girl in the back garden of the neighbouring house who said someone was still inside.

He added: “The man did not seem bothered. He was asking the girl where his tobacco was. I thought he was drunk or on drugs.”

Mr Chennell’s body was found by firefighters. A blood alcohol test carried out after his death showed he had 293mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – in comparison, the drink drive limit is 80mg. An investigator said the fire had been started by burning materials falling out of an open fire.