Coroner issues warning on proper siting of smoke alarms after fire death (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Coroner issues warning on proper siting of smoke alarms after fire death
A coroner has urged householders to make sure they fit smoke alarms correctly after a Bradford man was woken too late to save himself from choking fumes.
Bradford Coroner’s Court heard yesterday that Jai Brear, 42, might have escaped from his smoke-filled house if his alarm had been fitted to his ceiling.
But the smoke alarm had been placed on a work top and by the time the fumes reached down to activate it, it was too late.
Mr Brear was overcome in seconds as he tried to get six feet from his living room chair to open his window.
He died from asphyxia due to smoke inhalation.
The inquest was told a chip pan had caught fire in the kitchenette of Mr Brear’s home in Beacon Road, Bradford, last September, sending thick smoke into the living room, where Mr Brear had been sitting in a chair.
Fire service investigator Station Manager Richard Hagger told the inquest it was a reasonable inference that Mr Brear had put on the chip pan to heat up but had fallen asleep. He said other options had been considered, but excluded.
Fire crews found Mr Brear in a crouched position in the lounge.
Station manager Hagger told the hearing that the smoke alarm was situated above Mr Brear’s head on the work top and had activated when the smoke had come down to that level, waking him. When he stood up he would have breathed in large amounts of smoke very quickly and lost consciousness.
The fire officer said: “He would have stood up into the thick smoke, cutting off his oxygen supply. He would have collapsed and been unconscious in a matter of seconds.”
Mr Brear was found to have a 71 per cent level of carbon monoxide in his bloodstream, well above the fatal level. He was twice over the drink-drive limit.
Station Manager Hagger said if the smoke alarm had been on the ceiling it would have activated much earlier and given Mr Brear more chance of survival.
Acting Bradford Coroner, Professor Paul Marks, recording an accidental death verdict, said if the alarm had been on the ceiling it could possibly have allowed Mr Brear the opportunity to exit the premises.
Prof Marks said it was vitally important that smoke alarms were fitted correctly, with batteries, and in the right place. He urged householders to take advantage of the free service provided by West Yorkshire Fire Service to fit smoke alarms in homes and provide fire safety advice.