Irish man (70) dies after being found ablaze on London street

Police say death so far treated as unexplained, inquiries on circumstances ongoing

A 70-year-old Irish man has died after his clothing went on fire in London on Sunday.

Police officers, the London Ambulance Service and the London Fire Brigade attended a fire on a street in north London on Sunday and found the man, named as John Nolan, ablaze.

The fire was quickly extinguished by fire officers and the man was taken to a specialist hospital outside London by London Air Ambulance with serious burn injuries. He has since died.

Mr Nolan, a Mayo native, had been living in London since the 1960s.


A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said his death is being treated as unexplained at this time, and no arrests have been made but inquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances. His family is calling for any witnesses to come forward.

Kevin Byrne, a nephew of Mr Nolan, said he hopes the incident was a tragic accident. Mr Nolan died in hospital after life support systems were turned off. His brother and sister were with him when he died.

Mr Byrne told RTÉ’s News at One that the incident happened not far from Mr Nolan’s flat when he was out for a walk on Sunday.

He had been seen walking with the aid of a walking stick along the footpath before the incident where his clothes went on fire and he suffered extensive injuries.

He and his brothers and sisters all emigrated from Mayo to the UK in the 1960s. One of his brothers was killed in a machinery accident in 1974 when he was aged 21.

“He was a single man who had worked on the buildings. He had been in ill health and was being cared for by his brother,” added Mr Byrne.

“Our first reaction was, was it an accident or did somebody do this to him? Either way it was a painful end.”

Mr Byrne said the police have been very helpful. The family is calling for any witnesses to please come forward to report anything they might have seen. “We would like anyone to come forward, just in case. Personally I’m hoping it was an accident.”