Flintshire man failed to heed smoking in bed pleas

Reporter:

Matt Jones

A GRANDAD who died in a horrific house fire had ignored repeated warnings about smoking in bed, an inquest was told.

Ronald Jones, 75, died nine days after the fire at Albert Avenue, Flint on December 12 last year.

A verdict of accidental death was returned by coroner John Hughes at an inquest in Flint yesterday.

Mr Jones, a retired JCB driver, had previously suffered two strokes and had a serious chest condition which made it difficult for him to recover from the effects of the fire.

Grandson Damien Jones and other family members provided full-time care for Mr Jones after the death of his wife Lillian in 2008.

He said: “He had been warned of the dangers. The whole family had warned him. He did not care after my nan died.”

During the blaze firefighter Tommy Probert pulled Mr Jones from his home despite breaking his own leg in the process.

The father-of-two from Flint was subsequently honoured with a plaque for his bravery.

Paul Whybro, county safety manager at Wrexham fire station told the inquest smoking near an oxygen tank which Mr Jones needed for his health maximised the risk of a fire but said there was no conclusive evidence the tank contributed to the fire.

He said: “He was a very heavy smoker using oxygen.

“The crew commenced a search and found Mr Jones on the floor. The cause of the fire was due to smoking materials falling on the bed.

“The combustion of the mattress may have been aided by the oxygen compressor.”

After the fire Mr Jones was taken to the Countess of Chester hospital before being transferred to Whiston Hospital, Merseyside.

Mr Hughes said: “In his state that (the fire) was too much for him to sustain.”

The coroner also praised the family for their efforts to look after Mr Jones and care for him after the death of his wife.

Kevin Roberts, county safety manager for the fire service, said bedding which could reduce the risk of fire was available free of charge.

For more information contact Flintshire’s fire safety team on 01352 792820.

See full story in the Leader

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