The home in Park Lane, West Casino, where a man died in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The home in Park Lane, West Casino, where a man died in the early hours of Saturday morning. Cathy Adams

Casino man dies in late-night house fire

ROB KIRKHAM loved spending time in his garden and visiting his elderly mum, who lived close to his home in Casino's Park Lane.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, Mr Kirkham lost his life when a fire took hold of and destroyed his modest fibro house.

The blaze, which started about 2am, is not being treated as suspicious.

Police said that Casino firefighters had worked hard to put out the fire and then searched the home.

Mr Kirkham's body was found in the laundry.

Neighbours said Kirkham, believed to be in his 50s or 60s, lived alone at the West Casino address.

They said he was 'quiet and easy-going' and spent a lot of time with his elderly mother.

“It's very sad what happened to him,” one woman said.

“I heard the fire crackling so I went outside and saw the flames.

“The fire brigade was already there trying to put out the fire.

“Rob lived by himself, but he loved his garden, especially his mango trees. He had lots of them around his home.”

Another neighbour, Rob Towen, said he woke up because he heard firefighters yelling out.

“They were saying, 'is anybody inside? Is anybody in there?',” he said.

“I live across the street and I saw the lights flashing and the fire engines.

“But I didn't really think there was a fire. I couldn't see smoke or flames.”

Park Lane is a short and narrow street, where elderly people and families live in mostly single-storey homes and units.

It is understood the house was extensively damaged in the fire, and yesterday water was still dripping from the ceilings.

The roof was blackened and some of the windows were covered in ash.

The charred front door was off its hinges and had been discarded on the front lawn.

Mr Kirkham's car was still parked in the driveway.

Casino police said emergency services were called to the home about 2am after receiving reports of a fire.

“While the cause of the fire is still to be determined, there are no suspicious circumstances at this time,” a spokesperson said.

One neighbour said Mr Kirkham spent a lot of time visiting his elderly mother, who lived in a nearby street.

“I didn't really know him that well,” she said.

“I actually slept right through the fire - it was pretty late at night. But I know that Rob would visit his mother quite a bit.”

Another neighbour said that Mr Kirkham had lived in the area for a long time and worked at the Casino meatworks.

“He was on his own at the house and kind of kept to himself,” she said.

“But he was friendly enough and we would say hi and have a chat to him.

“When we had to get a new fence, we just said, 'Rob, how about a new fence?'.

“And there were no dramas at all, not like you would have with some neighbours.

“But not many people in the street even realised there was a fire because he had quite a few trees in his yard.

“I don't even know who called the fire brigade.”

Police will now prepare a report to be presented to the coroner, but the fire will not be investigated any further.

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