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Investigation launched after body found in caravan fire in Witton Castle grounds
AN investigation has been launched after a person died in a caravan fire in the grounds of a County Durham castle.
Durham Police and County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service were called to the blaze at Witton Castle Country Park near Bishop Auckland at 5.45am today (March 8).
The initial 999 call reported a car on fire but upon arrival firefighters from Bishop Auckland found a static caravan well alight.
Additional crews were dispatched to the incident but, despite the fire being quickly extinguished, the caravan had completely collapsed.
A body was found in the debris and was quickly declared dead at the scene.
A post-mortem examination was due to be carried out later in the afternoon with forensic tests needed to formally identify the body.
Colin Bage, head of operations delivery at the fire service, said the tragedy at the park, which houses hundreds of caravans and holiday homes, is a reminder of the need for working smoke alarms.
Mr Bage said: “This tragic loss of life is deeply saddening and our thoughts are with the person’s family and friends.
“At a time like this we are reminded of the dangers of fire and I appeal to everyone to ensure they have a working smoke alarm fitted in their home.
“As a service we aim to protect and educate the members of our communities about the dangers of fire and I would urge all residents to take up our offer of free home fire safety advice and the fitting of smoke alarms.”
A spokeswoman for Durham Police said the cause of the blaze is still being investigated.
She said: “The police and fire service are investigating the cause of a fatal fire at a caravan at Witton Castle, Bishop Auckland, in the early hours of this morning (March 8).
“A body was recovered from the caravan and a Home Office pathologist is to carry out a post mortem later this afternoon (March 8).”
Shorewood Leisure Group, the owners of Witton Castle Country Park, declined to comment while the investigation is being carried out.
To arrange a home fire safety visit including fitting a free smoke alarm, call the service on 0191-3324222 or visit ddfire.gov.uk
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