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Burnley man found dead in bedroom despite warnings about smoking habit
A 57-YEAR-OLD man with mobility problems died of ‘excessive burns’ after smoking in bed.
James Thompson’s care worker told an inquest into his death that she had warned him about the dangers of his habit, but he had not listened.
Mr Thompson, of Kay Gardens, Burnley, was found dead in his bedroom following the blaze in October last year.
His smoke alarm had gone off but a neighbour had thought the sound was coming from a television.
By the time the fire service arrived, the blaze, which started on the bed, was smouldering and Mr Thompson had managed to get himself to the other side of the room. Richard Taylor, senior coroner for East Lancashire sitting at Burnley Magistrates' Court, heard how it was possible Mr Thompson, who used a wheelchair and could not move around easily by himself, might have tried to pull an emergency chord.
Watch manager Neil Hardiman, who investigated the blaze, said counterfeit jin ling cigarettes imported from Russia were found in the house.
He said they did not conform to British standards which would stop them from burning right until the end.
The firefighter also told the court that he had concerns about the bedding, which was not fire resistant.
Mr Hardiman said: “There was nothing in our investigations that indicated anything other than accidental fire.”
It also emerged that Mr Thompson’s emergency button, which should have been worn around his neck, had broken off and was actually in the living room.
Charlotte Hammond, interim head of safeguarding at Lancashire County Council, said measures were in place to improve fire safety.
Mr Taylor concluded: “These deaths are always very distressing.
“I can only hope that lessons maybe can be learnt.
“I would encourage agencies to talk to each other. Maybe it is education, maybe it is awareness.
“But having said that, in Mr Thompson’s case, he was determined to smoke in bed. We are not here to stop him doing that.
"We can encourage not to. We can invite people to consider the dangers.
"In relation to Mr Thompson’s death, the conclusion I am inevitably drawn to is this was a very sad accident."
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