18 October 2021

Police investigate ‘neighbour dispute’ claims after man dies in house collapse

18 October 2021

Police investigating the death of a man whose house collapsed in a fire are looking into allegations of a “neighbour dispute”.

Emergency services were called to the fire, which was originally treated as a suspected explosion, in Clayton-le-Woods, Chorley Lancashire, on Friday afternoon.

The body of a man found inside the property is believed to be Carl Whalley, 57, although formal identification has yet to take place, a spokesman for Lancashire Police said.

Detective Chief Inspector Zoe Russo said allegations made on social media by Mr Whalley were being looked into as part of the investigation into the blaze.

She said: “Our investigation is focused on trying to establish how the fire started and we remain in the relatively early stages of that investigation.

“As I’m sure people will understand we are faced with an extremely complex scene and we have a number of enquiries to undertake so it may take some time to establish the exact circumstances.

“I would appeal to anyone who has any information and has not yet spoken to police to come forward and I would especially appeal to anyone with any CCTV, Ring doorbell footage or dashcam footage to get in touch. 

“We are aware of some allegations made on social media by Mr Whalley and suggestions of a neighbour dispute and we are looking into these matters as part of our enquiries.” 

The force is also reviewing the circumstances to determine whether a mandatory referral to the Independent Office of Police Conduct is required, she said.

Mr Whalley’s family paid tribute to him, describing him as “the centre of our world”.

His daughter Charlotte said: “Everything I do in my life I do to make my mum and dad proud.

“I want to carry on in my dad’s footsteps and make sure that his legacy lives on forever. He taught me everything I know and my life will never be the same without him.”

Emergency services were called to reports of a house fire on Kirkby Avenue at 1.20pm on Friday and the house collapsed around the time crews arrived.

Firefighters put out the blaze, which had spread to the property next door, and specialist urban search and rescue teams were deployed to search for casualties.

Anyone with information should call 101 quoting log reference 0756 of October 15 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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