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Naked flame caused death of Bilborough man

22 January 2019

​A FIRE which caused the death of a Bilborough man was most likely caused by a naked flame which ignited clothing, an inquest heard on Thursday 17 January.

HM Assistant Coroner for Nottinghamshire Ms Tanya Rawden, found that Mr Simon Barber, 49, of Monkton Drive, Bilborough, had died from smoke inhalation following the fire at his home on 18 July 2018. 

Mr Barber, who was a regular smoker, is thought to have accidentally dropped a lit match onto his clothing, which then ignited.

Crews from Stockhill, Highfields and a Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service appliance from Ilkeston attended the scene of the fire after the alarm was raised by a smoke alarm linked to the Nottingham On-Call Service at 17.42pm.

The court heard that Mr Barber suffered from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) which left him wheelchair-bound with limited mobility. He received visits from carers four times a day.

Returning her narrative conclusion, Ms Tanya Rawden said Mr Barber died from smoke inhalation, most probably caused by the naked flame of a match which was accidentally dropped whilst he was lighting a cigarette. 

Following the inquest, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) would like to highlight the Service’s Safe and Well visit programme to help prevent fires like this in the future.

Group manager, Tom Archer said, “Firstly I wish to extend my sincere condolences to the family of Mr Barber at this very difficult time. 

“This case highlights how one naked flame could be lethal – that is why we advise that if you or your family know someone who smokes regularly, to ensure they have a safe means of extinguishing their matches and advise them to not smoke in bed.

“At Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, we have what is known as a CHARLIE profile to identify people in the community who are most at risk of fire.”

The CHARLIE profile stands for care and support needs, hoarding and mental health issues, alcohol and medication, reduced mobility, living alone, inappropriate smoking and elderly.

“If you know someone who displays one or more of these characteristics, I would urge you to get in touch with us for a free Safe and Well Check by calling 0800 022 3235 or through our website www.notts-fire.gov.uk,” added Mr Archer.

Safe and Well visits take approximately an hour and involve firefighters, or members of our Prevention team, visiting your home to offer advice on how to make your home safer and what to do if you're trapped by fire.

They will also fit free smoke alarms if required and give advice and offer referrals to other services such as smoking cessation and alcohol services if you are happy for us to do so.