At 5:26am, Station Officer Jack Stacey and his crew arrived. Stacey was first up the ladder and through the window.
An excerpt from his own account follows:
When I got in through the window I found the body of a tramp named Bailey laying at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the second floor. He was lying partly on his left side. There was a four-inch slit in his abdomen from which was issuing, at force, a blue flame. The flame was beginning to burn the wooden stairs. We extinguished the flames by playing a hose into the abdominal cavity. Bailey was alive when he started burning. He must have been in terrible pain. His teeth were sunk into the mahogany newel post of the staircase. I had to prise his jaws apart to release the body. The fire was coming from within the abdomen of his body.
In 1986, Stacey was interviewed on BBC television's Newsnight programme, and went into detail:
The flame itself was coming from the abdomen. There was a slit of about four inches in the abdomen and the flame was coming through there at force, like a blowlamp - a bluish flame, which would indicate that there was some kind of spirit involved in it. There's no doubt whatsoever, that fire began inside the body. That's the only place it could have begun, inside that body.
The flames had scorched an area of floor measuring approximately six square feet and totally incinerated Bailey's right hand.
Stacey does not believe in 'the paranormal', in which category he includes SHC. Stacey's own explanation is as follows:
However, Heymer has written that Stacey's account contains a number of problems.
However, Bailey's head was fire-damaged and a less contradictory explanation could be that his jaw tendons contracted in the heat, clamping his jaws shut where his open mouth was already in contact with the post.
At inquest, it was found that the cause of Bailey's death was 'asphyxia due to inhalation of fire fumes'. Bailey had suffocated on the fumes of his own combustion. A search of his body revealed no portable sources of ignition (lighters, etc) or inflammable substances. He was a non-smoker. US readers should note that UK storey-numbering starts with the 'ground floor' and proceeds to 'first floor' for the second storey of a building.