Tragedy at family barbecue

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A FAMILY barbecue ended in tragedy when an elderly man was killed after becoming engulfed by flames.

The accident happened when Bipinchandra Patel, 61, was enjoying a get-together at the home he shared with his son and other family members in Barrowby Gate, Grantham.

Panic broke out when Bipinchandra’s son, Sanjay Patel, attempted to reignite the barbecue with lighter fluid after seeing the coals cool down during the course of the day.

Assistant deputy coroner Paul Smith said the result was ‘a fireball that engulfed Bipinchandra Patel, standing nearby’.

Bipinchandra tried in vain to run from the flames as family members attempted to save the dedicated family man by patting him down, taking off his clothes and throwing cold water over him.

Sanjay Patel also suffered burns to his hands and fingers. In a written statement to the inquest held at Grantham Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Thursday), Det Sgt Deborah Clarke said Sanjay was ‘very upset and would not be treated until his dad had been seen to’.

Father and son were taken to the Queen’s Medical Centre before Bipinchandra was transferred to the City Hospital in Lincoln. However, he never regained consciousness and died a month later on May 9.

Det Sgt Clarke described what happened as a ‘freak accident’.

She added: “The family are devastated by the loss and are in mourning.”

Det Sgt Clarke said Sanjay Patel ‘blamed himself’ for what happened that day.

She added: “Sanjay Patel was close to his father and is struggling to come to terms with the incident.”

A statement was also read out from plastic surgeon Peter Brooks, who said Bipinchandra Patel suffered ‘life-threatening burns’ at the barbecue, and described the prognosis and chances of recovery upon his arrival at hospital as ‘extremely poor.’

Recording a verdict of accidental death, assistant deputy coroner Paul Smith described the incident as ‘a dreadful and tragic accident’ before offering his sympathy to the family.