Firework blaze victim Anthony Nicholls was 'fun-loving man'

8 November 2017, 18:37

A man who died after a large firework was set alight in his home was a "fun-loving funny man", his daughter has said.

The retired former Land Rover worker was in an induced coma for five days after the arson attack at the property in Birchtrees Drive just after 11pm last Thursday.

He was rescued by firefighters but never regained consciousness and West Midlands Police launched a murder inquiry following his death in the early hours of Tuesday.

His daughter, Fiona Nicholls, said the family was in shock.

She said: "He was a fun-loving, funny man.

"He was retired but worked hard all his life."

Mr Nicholls leaves behind his partner, daughter, two brothers and nieces and nephews.

His 50-year-old partner managed to escape from the fire by jumping from a first floor window.

She sustained fractures to her lower limbs but is expected to recover from her injuries, police said.

The fire started after a large "commercial-sized" firework designed for outdoor displays was placed inside their home and set alight.

Mr Nicholls' house caught alight quickly, with the inside being gutted.

Police said they believe the firework contained about 200 tubes of explosives and would have taken just two minutes to fully discharge.

Det Insp Paul Joyce, leading the murder probe, said: "We are going through lots of CCTV and developing some lines of enquiry from that.

"This would have been a large heavy firework that would have been difficult to carry some distance, so I would ask anyone who saw someone carrying a large box in the area last Thursday night to contact us.

"Any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem to you, could help our investigation."

Information can be given to police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.