A man described as a "loner" died an accidental death from a fire in his flat just after Christmas, a coroner has ruled.

During an inquest at Bradford Coroner's Court on Monday, the court was told that Tom Tingle, 76, lived alone at his flat at Elm Tree Close, Keighley, when a fire broke out just after 7pm on December 28 last year.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford Coroner's CourtBradford Coroner's Court

Firefighters found Mr Tingle unconscious, carried out CPR and he was taken to Airedale General Hospital, but died just before 1am on December 29.

A clinician at Airedale found that he had suffered burns to 28 per cent of his body. He was given palliative care before he died.

A statement by one witness, local resident Andrew Smith, said: "I was speaking with my cousin Barry Smith who was outside when I noticed big orange flames from the flat at about 7.10pm.

"I shouted to my cousin that the flat was on fire. There was too much smoke coming out of the flat. It was too thick and heavy."

A statement by Barry Smith said: "When I was talking to my cousin, I noticed a shadowy haze and saw flames coming from the ground floor flat.

"I went to flat to the window and door of the flat but I didn't get any response from anyone inside. It was full of smoke and it smelled like there had been a electrical fire."

Richard Driver, watch manager from the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service's fire investigation team, found the fire started in the bedroom.

After ruling out deliberate ignition by a third party and Mr Tingle and other causes, he found the remains of portable electrical heater close to the bed.

"It was 10 centimetres away from the bed and we recommend at least one metre," said Mr Driver. "There were burn patterns around the electrical heater and it had been switched on because a fuse had blown and it wouldn't done so otherwise."

He came to the conclusion the heater had been placed too close to the bed with an electric blanket on top of it. It was also noted that no smoke alarms had been fitted in the property.

A report by Rachel Mercer from the Bradford District CID said: "There was no evidence of criminality, foul play or suspicious circumstances."

In a statement read out by assistant coroner Peter Merchant, Mr Tingle's niece Victoria Goodwin described him as a loner who had been estranged from his family.

Ms Goodwin had not seen him since 1970 and she said he had suffered from depression and a number of health problems including asthma.

She believed Mr Tingle had inherited his father's furniture removal business but had let it "fade".

Mr Merchant said: "From the evidence gathered Mr Tingle very much led the life of a loner.

"In the early evening on December 28, a fire broke out at his residence. The fire brigade were called quickly and discovered Mr Tingle.

"He sustained very severe burn injuries covering 28 per cent of his body.

"Tom Tingle died at Airedale Hospital from extensive burn injuries that arose from a house fire a Elm Street Close in Keighley caused by a portable electrical heater placed too close to combustible materials on the bed. I therefore record it as an accidental death."

Mr Merchant also expressed his condolences to the family.