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Gregory House resident died in cigarette fire
A MAN died in Hook after his discarded cigarette set fire to a sofa.
Barry Burtonwood, 67, suffered second and third degree burns in the fire, which took place in his flat in sheltered accommodation at Elms Road, on Friday, June 8.
An inquest in Alton heard that a carer put out the flames using water from a watering can, but it was too late.
Jonathan Ward said that as he drove into the driveway of Gregory House, he saw residents standing outside Mr Burtonwood’s ground-floor flat and smoke coming out of his window.
He said: “As I pulled level, I found Barry was still sitting on the sofa and he was on fire. The door was open and the smoke was pouring down the hallway. He was alive at that point as I could see him taking shallow breaths.”
After Mr Ward showered Mr Burtonwood with water, fire crews came and attempted CPR, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
David Lock, fire investigation officer at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, said the fire started in a holdall and spread, via a curtain draped over one end, to the sofa where Mr Burtonwood was sitting.
He said he had concluded the most likely cause of fire was “the careless disposal of smoking materials”.
The inquest heard that Mr Burtonwood was a heavy smoker and drinker, although toxicology tests had not found excess alcohol in his bloodstream.
Andrew Bradley, coroner for North East Hampshire, recorded a verdict of accidental death, saying the causes of death were burns and shock. Addressing Mr Ward, he said: “It’s quite significant that we acknowledge what you did. Thank-you for what you have done.”
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