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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Death in Cornwall

May 19 2013
A rough sleeper has died after the shed where he was sheltering caught fire

A rough sleeper has died after the shed where he was sheltering caught fire – possibly caused by an electric heater he had rigged up to keep warm.

The man, named locally as Mark ‘Mack’ Trudgeon, had been living with his family in Helston, Cornwall, but was said to have fallen on hard times.

Fire crews were called to the shed in Helston at 10.40pm on 23rd March. After they put out the fire Mr Trudgeon’s body was found inside the destroyed building. Police have ruled out any suspicious circumstances.

Fireman Andy Barrett, who led the fire service’s investigation, told the West Briton newspaper it was “a tragic set of circumstances”. “It wasn’t the healthiest or safest place to take refuge. We believe the most likely cause was an electric heater too close to combustible materials.”

Another local homeless man, Terry Rees, said he was sleeping nearby when he was woken by a large bang and saw flames rising from the shed. He suffered minor burns to his hands and feet trying to rescue his friend. He said he was “still shaken” by the incident. He added: “I noticed the shed had been broken into at around 6pm. I checked inside and saw Mack and gave him a spare sleeping bag. There was an electric heater on. I told him to switch it off.”

Helston Town Council confirmed Cornwall Council owned the site and had responsibility for the park and its buildings.

Cornwall Council confirmed it was taking part in a full investigation.