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Helmand soldiers died after tents caught fire

By Rod Minchin

Two British soldiers died in a fire that engulfed their tent as they slept at Camp Bastion, an inquest has heard.

Privates Rob Wood (28) and Dean Hutchinson (23) lost their lives when flames swept through a logistical centre at Helmand province HQ early on February 14 2011.

Privates Wood and Hutchinson, plus one survivor, were sleeping in the tented office so they could respond more quickly when supplies arrived. Firefighters on the base were quickly at the scene but were unable to save the two men, who served with The Royal Logistic Corps. The soldiers were identified by dental records, the inquest in Wiltshire, heard.

The men were on duty on February 13 in a Transport Troop tent and on standby in case any equipment needed unloading from flights.

In an opening statement read to the court, David Ridley, Coroner for Wiltshire and Swindon, said the soldiers had fallen asleep with the TV on. A lance corporal awoke to the smell of burnt wires ran to the door and called to the others. But, the coroner said, "by this time the fire had taken hold and was all over the side of the tent and entrance".

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