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John Ball death: London Fire Brigade ‘missed fatal Islington fire three times’

PUBLISHED: 09:57 21 April 2016 | UPDATED: 14:29 21 April 2016

Fire victim John Ball, right, with his twin sister Susan Ball. Picture: Susan Ball

Fire victim John Ball, right, with his twin sister Susan Ball. Picture: Susan Ball

Archant

The twin of rocker John Ball has demanded answers after it emerged London Fire Brigade attended three separate calls to his Islington flat block the day before he was found dead.

Fire crews attended Canalside Square, as well as an adjoining block, three times on April 3 after neighbours complained of smoke. But the source of the fire wasn't located. John Ball was found dead the next dayFire crews attended Canalside Square, as well as an adjoining block, three times on April 3 after neighbours complained of smoke. But the source of the fire wasn't located. John Ball was found dead the next day

Music-mad Mr Ball, 60, was found by police in his second floor flat in Canalside Square on April 4. The flat was “absolutely blackened with soot”.

But the fire brigade this week admitted crews attended three times on April 3 and were “unable to locate a source” of the fire.

Investigations into his death continued this week. Twin sister Susan Ball hasn’t even been able to arrange a funeral as his body is still with the authorities.

She told the Gazette: “If neighbours could smell smoke – and I believe one had soot in her flat – why didn’t the crews break the door down?

“My niece went a week after and said the smell of smoke was still horrendous. She looked through the letterbox and it was absolutely black with soot.

John Ball, pictured on January 31, on the balcony of the second floor flat in which he died. Picture: submittedJohn Ball, pictured on January 31, on the balcony of the second floor flat in which he died. Picture: submitted

“I have every respect for the emergency services but something clearly went wrong here.

“I don’t know for sure, but there is that nagging feeling that John could still have been alive.”

Mrs Ball, now of Sandhurst, Berkshire, hadn’t seen her brother for 22 years due to his ongoing struggle with alcoholism.

But they spoke regularly on the phone, and she recalled happier times with John, a father-of-two who worked in the print industry.

They grew up in Shepperton Road, Islington, and she said: “Before alcohol hit, he was a really bubbly and outgoing person.

Twins John and Susan Ball bonded over Arsenal FC and classic rock music. Picture: Susan BallTwins John and Susan Ball bonded over Arsenal FC and classic rock music. Picture: Susan Ball

“We were both mad Arsenal fans and used to go to concerts. Bands like Aerosmith and Kiss. He really did love his music.”

A London Fire Brigade statement said: “Police notified the brigade of a fatality in Canalside Square on Monday, April 4 and the brigade’s fire investigation team attended the incident.

“On April 3, the brigade received three calls to a smell of smoke - one call to Canalside Square and two calls to an adjoining block of flats. Crews were unable to locate a source.

“An investigation to establish the exact cause and circumstances of this fire is now underway. As with every fatal fire our fire investigators will produce a report which will be sent to the coroner.”

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