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Man named as John Applebee dies after Canford Heath fire
TRIBUTES have been paid to a Tesco home delivery driver who died in a house fire in Poole on Tuesday afternoon.
John Applebee, 68, was rushed to hospital with life threatening injuries after a blaze tore through his Canford Heath home.
Paramedics desperately tried to resuscitate him on the lawn outside the front of his house but he was later pronounced dead.
The cause of the fire is not yet known but police say the incident is not being treated as suspicious.
The fire broke out in the semi-detached house in Beamish Road at around 4.40pm and three fire crews from Poole attended to tackle the blaze.
Kevin Harriman, whose mother-in-law was John's partner, said: “He was a very kind man. He kept himself to himself and worked hard.”
He said John had lived in the Poole area for many years and worked as a maintenance man for Rollalong factory. When he retired he began working for Tesco's Tower Park store delivering groceries.
“He was a really keen and very talented photographer and was also into his fishing.”
Mr Harriman, who lives in Everton with partner Jackie Winkworth, 47, and son Daniel, 10, added: “My son is devastated. John taught him how to fish and they were supposed to be going out bird-watching.
“He used to stay with my mother in law, Diana Winkworth, three nights a week and we'd often see him at Christmas and birthdays. He was part of our family.”
Mr Harriman, 49, said Diana and John met ballroom dancing and have been together for more than 15 years.
Mr Applebee's next of kin and the Dorset coroner have been informed. A post mortem examination will be carried this afternoon (Thurs 29) and an inquest is expected to be opened and adjourned next Tuesday.
JOHN Applebee's neighbour says his Tesco colleagues are going to be “gutted”.
Debra Pidgley, who also works the Tower Park store where Mr Applebee was employed, said: “He was a really nice bloke. Lots of the guys at work are going to be really gutted. It's sad.
“He kept himself to himself. I only saw him briefly in the mornings and we would have a chat. I never saw anybody come and visit him.
“He had a passion for birds. I used to see him filling up his bird feeders and he did a lot of bird-watching.”
Mr Applebee also kept fish and snakes, which were removed from the property by the RSPCA.
Debra and partner Jon Loffler raised the alarm after hearing a bang and seeing flames coming from the kitchen.
The couple hammered on the door and shouted through the letterbox, but did not get any response.
The heat generated by the blaze was so intense that it melted window frames and guttering at the rear of the house. “Once the windows started falling out, some flames started coming out of his bedroom and chimney,” said Jon.
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