Man in fatal house fire named

TRIBUTES have been paid to a 36-year-old man who died in a house fire in Elsenham on Saturday night.

Darren Hockley, of Gilbey Cottages, Stansted Road, was killed after a blaze tore through his home.

His 71-year-old father, who also lived at the house, was treated for smoke inhalation at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow. He has now been left homeless.

Mr Hockley’s friend and neighbour, Hilary Todd, said: “It is a terrible tragedy and a huge shock to everyone in the community.

“Darren had lived in the house all his life so he was well-known by everybody in the village. He was always cheerful and chirpy – I never saw him miserable.

“He used to wash cars and do a bit of gardening and landscaping, odd jobs here and there, and he would always lend a hand if anybody asked for his help.”

Another friend, Greg Brooks, said: “Darren was a really nice, genuine guy – you couldn’t not like him.

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“He used to do some work for me in the garden when I lived a few doors down from him. He would come over and we would talk about horticulture over a cup of tea – he was very knowledgeable and always did a good job.”

Firefighters were called to the blaze at 10.03pm on Saturday night (January 28).

Mr Hockley was rescued from a bedroom of a two-storey terraced home but was pronounced dead at the scene at 11.07pm by the East of England Ambulance Service.

Three fire crews, from Stansted, Newport and Bishop’s Stortford, tackled the blaze for more than an hour-and-a-half and the flames were extinguished by 11.39pm.

The house was said to be “100 per cent well alight” when the first two crews arrived. A third was called after firefighters were told people might still be inside.

A joint investigation has been launched by Essex Police and the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

Police cordoned off the area surrounding the house following the incident but said the fire was not thought to be suspicious.

A post mortem into Mr Hockley’s death was carried out but further tests are required to establish the exact cause.

An inquest was opened and adjourned in Essex today (Wednesday).