Sudden death of two men: PSNI give assurances there is ‘no immediate risk to the public’
The PSNI and Fire Service have been called to a house at Elm’s Park area of Coleraine.
A PSNI spokeswoman said tonight that they, along with other emergency services, responded to “the report of the sudden deaths of two men” at a property in the Elms Park area of the town on Monday afternoon.
She added that police are “satisfied that there is no immediate risk to the public” and that the deaths “are not being treated as suspicious at this time”.
According to PUP councillor Russell Watton, the two men were good friends who were in their 50s. One of them had been the tenant of the Housing Executive flat where they were found.
“The coroner is on his way to the scene tonight,” he added. “Any suggestion about what might have happened is just speculation right now.”
He added that the bodies of the two men remained in the flat tonight as of about 8.30pm. The flat was under police guard.
“It is a strange one because usually in a case like this it is quite clear what happened after a couple of hours,” he added. “There was no foul play – definitely not.”
Mr Watton knew both of the men by name.
“I know they were both looking forward to getting away to a Rangers match next weekend,” he added.
“They seem to have ruled out the possibility of a gas leak. I thought that anyway as they had not evacuated the flats around it.”
Mr Watton said that one possible line of inquiry may have emerged, but that it was just speculation at this stage. He also said that drugs appear to have been ruled out.
The fire service said information about the incident would only be released via the PSNI, and declined to make any comment.
There was no obvious sign of any fire at the property yesterday but one eyewitness said the Fire Service were there so that firefighters in specialist hazardous material suits could enter the flat.
Earlier last night Mr Watton said that a neighbour who lives in the flat across the landing had reportedly collapsed on Sunday while shopping.
But the councillor said it was not possible to say if there was any link with the two deaths and the man who had reportedly collapsed.
Although there had been initial reports that a gas leak might have been responsible, he said that the firefighters who entered the flat had ruled this out using specialist monitoring equipment.
He said that the alarm was raised when the father of one of the deceased men went looking for his son, whom he knew was a regular visitor to his friend’s flat.
Earlier this evening people stood shivering in the cold and dark behind the police cordon at the scene, anxious to hear what might have happened to their two neighbours and picking up on the various claims and reports circulating in the neighbourhood.
SDLP East Londonderry MLA Cara Hunter passed her sympathies on to the families and friends of the two deceased men.
“I was shocked and saddened to hear of the deaths of two men in Coleraine on Monday,” she said. “My condolences go out to their families and friends at this very difficult time.
“The local community will be stunned following this incident and my thoughts also go out to them after this distressing ordeal.
“I would ask that people give the police space to carry out their investigation into these sudden deaths so they can establish exactly what took place here. I would also encourage anyone with information about what took place to come forward to the police as soon as possible.”
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