Five-year-old Leeds boy died after house fire: Inquest opening told blaze at Rothwell family home started in bedroom

A FIVE-year-old boy died after a blaze broke out in the upstairs bedroom he was in at a house in Leeds, an inquest opening was told.

Alex Clarke

Alex Clarke suffered smoke inhalation and severe burns in the fire at the house on Second Avenue, Rothwell, on Sunday February 11, an inquest opening at Wakefield Coroner's Court heard.

Fire crews from Rothwell and Hunslet were on the scene within minutes of a call received just before 8.30pm.

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The inquest opening heard firefighters found Alex and he was taken to Leeds General Infirmary and transferred to the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, where his death was confirmed at 12.15pm the following day.

Floral tributes at the scene of the fatal house fire

Area Coroner Jonathan Leach said: "On the evening of February 11 he was at home in an upstairs bedroom when a fire started in that room. Although the alarm was raised , the fire took hold."

Reading a statement from Detective Chief Inspector Glen Alderson of West Yorkshire Police, Mr Leach said: "They inform me that there is no suspicion on their part at the current time of any offences arising out of the fire."

Mr Leach said a preliminary report from Dr Michael Parsons gave the cause of death as a combination of severe burns and smoke inhalation.

Mr Leach adjourned the inquest pending the outcome of further enquiries.

Police at the scene of the fatal blaze

Police said after the blaze that Alex’s mother, brother and sister were in the house at the time of the incident but were uninjured.

Flowers, balloons and teddy bears were placed at the scene of the tragedy along with a number of condolence messages.

One handwritten tribute said: “Today it would have been wonderful to see you play or smile but heaven lent you to this world just for a while and that short and precious time you brought along much love and all that love is with you now in heaven up above.

“You are leaving us with so many tears and such a lot of pain but God needed one more angel.”

Floral tributes at the scene of the blaze on Second Avenue, Rothwell.

Writing on Facebook, one family member said: “This is one of the saddest days our family has had.

“Gutted is an understatement. We love and miss you so much wee man.”

The headteacher at Alex's school added his voice to the tributes to the much-loved youngster.

Oulton Primary School headteacher Richard Horton said after the tragedy: "We were deeply saddened to learn about the tragic death of Alex.

Floral tributes at the scene of the fatal house fire

"He was a hardworking and friendly boy with a great sense of fun.

"Alex is going to be greatly missed by all at Oulton Primary School and we would like to express our heartfelt condolences and sympathy to Alex’s family and friends at this extremely difficult time."

Police at the scene of the fatal blaze
Floral tributes at the scene of the blaze on Second Avenue, Rothwell.