Disgarded cigarette caused death of Nottingham man

01/12/2017

A discarded cigarette was the most likely cause of a fire that led to the death of a Nottingham man, an inquest heard.

Assistant Coroner Dr Elizabeth Didcock ruled that Mr Kevin Ward,54, of Cherry Tree Close, Mansfield – who suffered from mobility issues and had carers visiting four times a day –  died from respiratory failure and severe burns.

The fire in question occurred on Thursday 7 September earlier this year and saw crews from Mansfield and Edwinstowe called to the incident at 6.59am.

On arrival at the scene firefighters entered the property and found Mr Ward in his bedroom surrounded by thick black smoke. Crews rescued Mr Ward from the property and attempted CPR and first aid in the garden before he was then taken to hospital.

He later died from his injuries in hospital on Sunday 10 September.

At Friday's inquest, the court heard that the most probable cause of fire was from a discarded cigarette dropped onto a dynamic airflow pressure relieving mattress on a hospital style bed.

It is believed the airflow mattress, which has air chambers inside the mattress to help prevent pressure sores, was punctured, which escalated the fire from what would have been a slow burn to an enhanced fire.

Concluding the case, Dr Didcock described the case as tragic and thanked the work of both Nottinghamshire Police and Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service for their response and subsequent investigation.

She said: "This is a very sad case."

"In future, a balancing of risks must be done for people who have mobility problems and are regular smokers before a dynamic airflow pressure relieving mattress is provided for them."

Following the ruling, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging people with relatives who smoke and use an airflow mattress to be extra vigilant.

Lucie Poxon, Fire Investigation and Arson Reduction Officer at Nottinghamshire, who gave evidence at the inquest said: "Our thoughts go out to Mr Ward's family at this very difficult time.

"Unfortunately, this incident shows how just one cigarette can be lethal if it is not carefully discarded.

"It is tragic in this case that an airflow mattress, designed to improve the lives of those with mobility problems, has contributed to the spread of this fire.

"That is why we are asking people across Nottinghamshire to be extra careful if they choose to smoke in bed and ensure smoke alarms are fitted and tested regularly."

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