Former engineer died in mystery house fire, inquest hears
PUBLISHED: 06:00 06 September 2013
A RETIRED engineer died after a fire in his living room, which left him with 100 per cent burns, an inquest heard.
On Tuesday Hertfordshire Coroner’s Court, in Hatfield, heard John Palmer either leant over his gas fire and was set alight, or a faulty gas switch flooded the room and a “flash fire” engulfed the Welwyn resident when he pushed the ignition button. Mr Palmer, 65, of The Crescent, was at home alone when tragedy struck and the flames did not spread to any other part of his house.
A lack of oxygen meant the fire burned itself out.
Neighbours were unaware of the blaze, and Mr Palmer’s fate was only discovered when worried friends contacted the police.
Police discovered Mr Palmer’s body after forcing entry on April 18 this year, but the fire could have happened any time after April 13.
A fire investigation was launched with station commander Trevor Brown leading Herts Fire and Rescue Service’s probe.
Mr Brown said: “He would not have know anything about it, he would not have suffered.”
He said the room appeared to be “painted black” with soot when he arrived and both firefighters and officers could not find any evidence there was a third party involved.
Assistant coroner Alison Grief recorded a verdict of accidental death.
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