AN ELDERLY man died in a house fire in Poole yesterday.

The emergency services were called to the blaze in Pearce Avenue, Lower Parkstone, at around 2pm and it was later confirmed that there was a body inside the home.

The victim has been named locally as 77-year-old Graham Cox although no formal identification has been carried out yet. 

Yesterday, the house was not considered safe enough for the body to be recovered.

Inspector Ian Jarred said police and fire investigators were working to establish the circumstances surrounding the fire, along with its cause.

Crime scene investigators and Dorset Fire investigators attended.

In all, seven fire appliances were sent to the scene, along with a number of paramedics.

Inspector Jarred, speaking at the scene at around 4pm yesterday, said: “We are not treating it as suspicious, but we are trying to find out how the fire has been caused.”

Dorset Police contractors working nearby noticed flames coming out of the property.

“They attempted to force an entry, but were forced back by the flames,” a force spokesman added.

Chris Baker, who lives opposite, said: “I came upstairs and saw a thick yellow smoke coming from the roof. The wind was blowing out towards the harbour, taking it away from the properties.

“There were flames coming out the roof and the firefighters were having to bash through it with some on ladders.

“The whole road was cordoned off. I’ve never seen so many emergency services vehicles. There must be about 25 with police, fire and ambulance.

“The property next door had to have the roof sprayed with something so it wasn’t damaged.”

Police cordoned off the road, sealing it at the junctions with Elms Avenue and Sandbanks Road.

The fire was thought to have started in an upper floor.

Neighbour Linda Wood said: “The house is two along from the yacht club, but I don’t know the people who live there. I’ve got builders at my house at the moment and I spoke to them on the phone and they told me it was chaos down here.”

Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “I think an elderly couple lived at the property and they kept themselves to themselves pretty much.”

The cordon around the property was last night still in place and police confirmed it would remain well into today.