AN inquest has delivered a stark warning about the dangers of falling asleep whilst smoking after a Wigan man suffered horrific burns.
Deputy Coroner Alan Walsh recorded that Gordon Bailey died as a result of an accident which firefighters believe to be caused by a smouldering cigarette.
The blaze happened at the 54-year-old’s flat in Livingstone Street, Ashton, in the early hours of December 6 last year. The dad-of-one suffered 27 per cent burns and was taken to Wigan Infirmary and was later transferred to Wythenshawe Hospital.
Mr Bailey, an ex-miner, died on March 26 at Wythenshawe Hospital and a post-mortem determined his cause of death to be bronchial pneumonia, brought about by respiratory failure as a result of his burns.
There was no evidence that Mr Bailey had been drinking.
A statement from Mr Bailey’s neighbour, Paul Kinnaird, said: “I heard a loud bang and I saw dark smoke funnelling up in front of my window. I went outside and could see flames coming from Gordon’s flat and I heard him shout for help. The fire brigade came and they brought him out. An ambulance arrived and they paramedics treated him there for 30 minutes and then took him away.”
Iain Ronaldson, an officer from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It was a sudden unexpected fire from a discarded cigarette. The main origin was likely to be in the area of the sofa. Every so often a dropped cigarette can continue smouldering and a fire can develop over a few hours.
“There were canisters used to refill cigarette lighters and it is common for those to rupture in a fire.”
Dr Ayub-Khan, a consultant for plastic surgery at Wythenshawe Hospital, said Mr Bailey suffered 27 burns to his face, legs and hands, which caused damage to his lungs. Despite most of the burns tissue being removed, 10 days before his death, he developed a chest infection and bronchial pneumonia.
Mr Walsh concluded: “It is extremely dangerous to smoke a cigarette in a house when tired as it is easy to drop. Sadly Mr Bailey lost his life due to that act.” Mr Bailey’s daughter, Hannah Karikari, said: “We want to thank the fire service, especially the female firefighter who went in to save my dad. We are grateful to the staff at Wigan and Wythenshawe hospitals as they have been fantastic.”