Cigarette causes house fire that killed Nelson man (45)

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A HOUSE fire which killed a 45-year-old man days after Christmas is thought to have been the result of a carelessly discarded cigarette, an inquest has heard.

Simon Peach, of Essex Street, Nelson, was found dead by firefighters in the bedroom of his flat on December 28th last year after neighbours smelled smoke.

At the inquest, East Lancashire Coroner Mr Richard Taylor heard ex-offender Mr Peach had a history of alcohol problems and had, in the past, threatened to burn down his house.

But, after hearing evidence from a senior fire officer from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, Mr Taylor recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Pathologist Dr Zuhair Twaij, who undertook the post mortem examination, said Mr Peach died from carbon monoxide poisoning, but had a high concentration of alcohol in his system which would have made him unresponsive to the smoke.

Mr Peach had been receiving support from the Foundation Housing Support and his support worker, Rory Martin, described him as a “chaotic” man, who was regularly threatening to end his own life and who was admitted to hospital on numerous occasions. Giving evidence, Mr Martin said: “When I last saw him on December 7th, he threatened to burn the house down. He started to cut his wrists in front of me. I called the police and they took him to hospital.”

Firefighters were called to the house at 10-54 p.m.. On arrival, Watch Manager Paul Butt said the property was heavily smoke-logged and he found a smouldering fire among a small pile of clothes. He said: “There was a full ashtray, cigarettes and matches under the bed and on the floor.”

Therre’s more on this tragic case in tomorrow’s Nelson Leader