Inquest: Disabled man couldn’t escape from house fire

The house in Fen Lane, Long Bennington.
The house in Fen Lane, Long Bennington.
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A disabled man was unable to escape a fire he accidently started while smoking in bed, an inquest heard yesterday.

Peter Dore, of Fen Lane, Long Bennington, died on June 22 at the Queen’s Medical Centre following the fire which began in the downstairs bedroom of his home where he lived with his wife Dunya.

The inquest heard Mr Dore, 66, had been smoking on the morning of the fire and had spoken to his wife, his good friend Barry Johnson and a carer that day.

As his wife and Mr Johnson left to go into Grantham Mr Dore called out to his wife: “Bye my darling. Drive carefully.”

Minutes later, as they left the property, Mrs Dore and Mr Johnson noticed smoke coming from the Dore home.

Mr Johnson entered knowing Mr Dore would not be able to get himself to safety due to extremely limited mobility caused by a stroke and a subsequent fall which had left him practically bed-bound for the past two years.

Mr Johnson told the inquest: “I remember as I went into the hall Peter was shouting ‘help, help, I need help’.

“I ran to his door but I wasn’t expecting much because it had only been a few minutes so I thought it couldn’t be a big fire. I just thought it would be a burning pillow or something.

“I opened the door and that was it. I couldn’t see anything. It was totally black.”

Mr Johnson was able to locate Mr Dore on the floor but found he was too heavy to lift.

Mr Johnson said: “I could see he was badly burned. I went to try and pick him up with my hands under his arm pits but he was so heavy I had to grab him by the wrists.

“I said ‘I’m going to have to drag you’ and he said ‘just do it’.”

Mr Dore was pulled clear and into the kitchen where Mr Johnson received help from Long Bennington businessman Michael Noquet in removing him from the house on a duvet.

Two air ambulances - Warwickshire & Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire - were called to the scene and Mr Dore was taken swiftly to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham. However, they were not able to save his life.

The inquest heard Mr Dore had dropped lit cigarettes and matches on himself or the floor on numerous previous occasions. Mrs Dore told the court she had tried to get her husband to stop smoking and warned him about the dangers saying “if something happened to you, you can’t just jump out and run”. In 2012 she even gave him a fire extinguisher to keep by his bed.

Keiron Davey, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue investigation officer, said the fire was most likely caused accidently by smoking materials.

Mr Davey told the inquest that Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue is able to help prevent such tragic cases by providing flame retardant bedding and even a portable sprinkler system for members of the public at high risk such as Mr Dore.

Mr Davey said: “We have measures in place that could have helped in this case.”

Assistant coroner Paul Smith found Mr Dore died as the result of a smoking accident.

* Contact Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue HQ on: 01522 582222