A builder working next door to the house where a 24-year-old man was murdered in a fire says he smelled smoke before emergency services arrived.
Police launched a murder inquiry on Tuesday – four days after the body of Ivans Zdanovics was found in the property on Etherington Street in Gainsborough.
Detective Superintendent Stuart Morrison of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit revealed that Latvian Mr Zdanovics died from smoke inhalation caused by a fire – believed to have been deliberately started – last Friday morning.
He is trying to build up a picture of the factory worker's lifestyle to establish a motive for his murder.
Trevor Petts, who runs Hykeham Building Services with his son Simon, is working on the house he owns next door to the crime scene, where police were called at 10.48am on Friday.
"The house has been vacant since last July. We started working on it two weeks ago," said, Mr Petts, of Doddington Road in Lincoln.
"I saw the man who died through the front window and again when he came round briefly to ask about what we were doing.
"His English was very broken.
"When I came here at 9.30am last Friday morning I walked into our house and could smell smoke.
"I wondered if there had been a bonfire somewhere near and then the next thing we knew there were police and ambulance outside – and the road was sealed off."
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