The cause of a house
fire which claimed the life of a 76-year old man in Mansfield last December was
accidental, a Coroner has ruled.
Michael Colin Edward
Chapman was taken to hospital following the fire at his home in Chadburn Road
on 15 December 2019. He later died as a
result of injuries sustained through smoke inhalation.
An inquest into Mr
Chapman’s death on 23 September 2020 heard that the cause of the fire had been
an electrical extension cable, or an item plugged into it, in the lounge of the
Mr Chapman’s neighbour
had been alerted to the fire by a sounding smoke alarm and, with the assistance
of another neighbor, had managed to get him out of the property and into the
back garden prior to the arrival of fire crews. He was given emergency first aid at the scene
by firefighters and paramedics, before being taken to Nottingham’s City
Hospital where, two weeks later, he sadly died.
Fire Investigator Tom
Clark told the court that the first fire crew arrived on the scene seven
minutes after the call to Fire Control. They
were joined by a further two fire crews, plus police and paramedics.
Mr Clark said: “On
arrival, firefighters found a well-developed fire between a small desk and the
sofa in the lounge of the bungalow.
There was significant fire damage to the left-hand side of the sofa and
smoke had affected the premises.
“There were various
items filling the floor space, and a four-gang electrical extension lead with
multiple items plugged into it was within the seat of the fire. Our investigation concluded that the cause of
the fire was accidental and was due to either the extension lead, or one of the
items plugged into it.”
The court heard that Mr
Chapman had lived ‘a chaotic lifestyle’ in terms of storage and the number of
items that were cluttering the lounge at the time of the fire.
Jonathan Straw said: “One of the difficulties faced where items are stored in
this way – as clutter – is that this can be fuel for the fire and can also make
access and egress difficult.”
He added that the
confusing effects of smoke can also impede an occupant’s escape from a
property, no matter how well they know the lay-out.
Mr Straw concluded that
Mr Chapman had died as a result of injuries sustained during a fire at his home
address, the cause of which had been accidental.
Speaking after the
inquest, Mr Clark said: “The tragic events of 15 December 2019 highlight the
increased risk of fire in the home where electrical sockets and extension leads
are overloaded, or where electrical appliances have not been maintained or used
“Electrical items, if
covered, can over-heat resulting in a fire and can spread quickly to items
stored nearby. As we have seen, the outcome can be devastating.
“I would urge people to
make sure all electrical items are well-maintained and care is taken so as to
avoid any accidental damage to the flex, the plug or even the item itself. Avoid
burying or covering these items to also prevent damage or over-heating, and
don’t overload sockets or extension leads.
“Make an escape plan
for your home and ensure access routes are clear. We also recommend fitting
smoke alarms on each level of your property and testing them regularly.
“Our sincerest condolences
go to Mr Chapman’s family following this tragic event.”