Second body found within remains of arson probe flats

Recovery workers have been unable to remove the body due to safety fears.

Ryan Hooper
Friday 31 December 2021 14:19
Firefighters at the scene of the blaze in Rowe Court, Reading (Marc Ward/PA)
Firefighters at the scene of the blaze in Rowe Court, Reading (Marc Ward/PA)

A second body has been found inside a block of flats decimated by fire two weeks ago.

Thames Valley Police said the remains were discovered inside Rowe Court, Reading on Thursday.

The body has yet to be recovered or identified due to concerns that the building could collapse.

It brings to two the number of confirmed casualties inside the building following the fire on December 15.

The burned out flats in Rowe Court in Reading after the blaze on December 15 (Marc Ward/PA)

A police spokesman said: “Due to the structural instability of the building, it currently remains impossible to recover those who are inside.

“In the weeks since the fire, scaffolding has been put in place around the site and good progress has been made.

“However, in recent days, the building has started to collapse inwards, which has resulted in some parts of the roof falling inside.

“It is, therefore, possible that further collapses will occur due to the instability of the building.

Emergency services are concerned that Rowe Court could collapse (Marc Ward/PA)

“While it is impossible to predict when or if this will happen, the emergency services continue to monitor the site closely as well as weather conditions which could affect the situation.

“If the collapse does occur, it is expected that this could be loud as well as visible to those living nearby.

“In the event of a collapse, people are advised that they should keep windows and doors closed to prevent dust from entering their homes.”

Hakeem Kigundu, 31, has been charged with murder and arson with intent to endanger life.

He is due before Reading Crown Court in February.

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