Aquatic Business Founder Dies In Fire

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Aquatic business founder dies in fire
15th July 2014

By Sandra Pearce

Graham Cox, founder of Waterlife Research, has died in a fire at his Dorset home. Up to 40 firefighters battled the flames for several hours, but could not save Graham, 77, who was still a director of the company.

A spokesman for the aquatics manufacturer said: “Understandably the Cox family are devastated and will take time out to deal with their loss. Funeral arrangements are not known at this time.

“The business is operating as normal under the care of the staff at Longford.”

According to the Daily Mail, the Poole seafront home was destroyed in the fire, which is believed to have started on the first floor. Rescuers had to wait 24 hours to retrieve his body because the structure was deemed unstable.

Workers nearby had alerted the authorities after seeing flames coming from the roof. They had tried to gain entry to the property to help, but were forced back by the flames and heat.

Graham and his wife, Elaine, 71, had lived at the property for 33 years. Elaine is believed to have been out at the time.

Graham’s niece, Charlotte, later posted a message online saying: “I would like to commend everyone that was involved in the rescue of my uncle in this tragic awful event that will scar my family forever.

“I would like to thank others for their kind words. He was an incredibly hard-working man from a very hard-working background and this loss will never go away. Thank you again to all that risked their lives to help in this truly sad, sad accident.”

Engineers are assessing the structural integrity of the property, which may need to be demolished as the fire destroyed the first floor and roof space.

Dorset Fire and Rescue Service has launched an investigation into the cause. Dorset Police Inspector Ian Jarred said police were not treating the death as suspicious.

A pioneer
Graham’s interest in aquatics arose when he was teaching biology and chemistry in Zambia. While on holiday in Mozambique, he swam and dived in the coral reefs and was so excited and enthusiastic by what he saw that he used his scientific background to form SeAquariums, a brand that is now used for the marine range and one of the first aquatic businesses to specialise exclusively in the import of tropical marine life.

He set up Waterlife Research in 1968 and today the company, which is based in Longford, Middlesex, manufactures treatments and medications, water conditioners, test kits, sea salt, filtration media and food, among other products.

Under his direction, Waterlife Research introduced Ultramarine synthetic sea salt in 1963, which was later used to breed the first Percula clownfish in a closed circuit system.

Other achievements included the undergravel filter and the reverse flow filtration concept as used in the SeAquariums system. On its website, the company states: “This was a complete aquarium with integral filter and was the forerunner to many tanks seen in market today. To this day, the company holds many patents ensuring it remains at the forefront of the industry.”

Waterlife has also been involved in projects such as helping to establish fish farms and exporting stations, and setting up public aquariums in the UK and overseas. The company has created aquatic exhibits for multi-national companies and government bodies, and has been involved with TV and film productions.