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Rowe Court fire update January 31 2022

Alert message sent 31/01/2022 15:08:00

Information sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police

Since a major fire broke at a property in Rowe Court, Reading on December 15, work has been ongoing to make the site safe in order that the bodies of two people who tragically died in the incident can be recovered.

Today (31/1), after a complex recovery process, two bodies have now been carefully removed from the building and taken to hospital.

Post mortem examinations for both people are anticipated to take place this week, as well as formal identification. Their families are being supported through this process.

The Thames Valley Police Major Crime Unit is continuing its investigation into the incident, and a man has been charged in connection with it.

At this time, the site remains part of a crime scene, and work to safely dismantle the building will continue. Therefore, police officers and contractors will remain at the site over the coming weeks.

Superintendent Steve Raffield, local area policing commander for Reading, said: “I know that today has been a very difficult and emotional day for a lot of people connected to this incident, especially for the families of the deceased.

“I am pleased that following such a long and complex recovery process that we have been able to safely remove those who were inside, and I hope that this is some comfort to their families.

“Our officers will remain at the scene while our investigation into the fire continues, as well as the process of dismantling the building.

“Anyone with any questions or concerns should feel free to approach our officers and speak to them.

“I’d also like to thank all those living nearby for their continued support and patience.”
Jim Powell, Area Manager at Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “On behalf of everyone at Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, I would like to extend my thoughts to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives in this tragic incident. I know this is an extremely difficult time for those directly affected and people living nearby the incident scene.

“A full fire investigation to determine the cause of the fire is now underway and we will continue to work with partners to resolve this incident as swiftly and as safely as possible.”
Jason Brock, Reading Borough Council Leader, said: “The thoughts of everybody in Reading are firmly with the families of those people whose bodies were recovered by our emergency service colleagues earlier today. 

“More than six weeks have now passed since the horrific fire at Rowe Court, but for those affected the impact is as real today as it was on December 15. For the families who lost loved ones, it will never pass. 

“We once again thank Reading’s emergency services for the dignified recovery in what must have been very distressing circumstances. I know they will be on site for some considerable time yet as teams work to dismantle what is left of Rowe Court. We also thank the local community again for their patience and understanding. 

“The Council continues to work with partners, in particular the property management company and their insurers, to support residents who have been displaced by the fire in any way we can, in both their short-term and long-term needs. The dedicated webpage for people wishing to make a financial donation to them remains open at”   

Paul Jefferies, Assistant Director of Operations at South Central Ambulance Service said “This has undoubtedly has been an extremely upsetting and difficult time for everyone affected.  I would like to send our sincere condolences to the family and friends of those who passed away in this devasting incident on behalf of those at South Central Ambulance Service”.

Help and support continues to be available from Reading Borough Council and its Contact Centre is available 24/7. Please call 0118 937 3787 and stay on the line to be put through to emergency support, to help or signpost you to appropriate partner organisations.

Victims First can also provide free emotional support and information. You can visit their website for more information -  
When the Victims First office is closed, you can alternatively contact: 
  • Mind information line - 0300 123 3393 
  • The Samaritans (open 24/7) – 116 123
Message sent by
Emma Tarry (Police, Communications Officer, Thames Valley)

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