House fire pensioner died from his burns

Mr Thompson's home in North Albert Street, Fleetwood, where  the blaze struck on December 9
Mr Thompson's home in North Albert Street, Fleetwood, where the blaze struck on December 9
  • William Towers Thompson, 75, was rescued by firemen
  • The blaze ripped through his North Albert Street home on December 9
  • Despite the heroics of firefighters and the quick response of paramedics, he was too badly injured to survive
  • Preston Coroner’s Office in Fulwood ruled the cause of Mr Thompson’s death was from complications associated with burning, as well as a brain condition
  • Claire Hammond, area coroner for Preston and West Lancashire, recorded a verdict of death due to misadventure

A Fleetwood pensioner died from the effects of severe burns after an horrific blaze engulfed his home in the early hours of the morning, an inquest heard.

William Towers Thompson, 75, was rescued by firemen after a blaze ripped through his North Albert Street home on December 9.

I knew Bill was in a serious way and I was told he suffered 50 per cent burns, but it still comes as a shock

But despite the heroics of firefighters and the quick response of paramedics, he was too badly injured to survive. An inquest at Preston Coroner’s Office in Fulwood ruled the cause of Mr Thompson’s death was from complications associated with burning, as well as a brain condition.

Claire Hammond, area coroner for Preston and West Lancashire, recorded a verdict of death due to misadventure.

Mr Thompson’s death happened later on the same day of the blaze, even though he had been rushed to intensive care at the Royal Preston Hospital.

The pensioner, who struggled with his mobility, lived alone in the terrace house and was a well-known figure in the area around his home. He had several relatives in the town.

Firefighters who investigated the scene concluded the fire had been caused by lighted candles, which had ignited furnishings in Mr Thompson’s home.

In the wake of the tragedy Steve Chappell, station manager at Fleetwood, warned people to take care with candles, and said even small tea-lights could generate a huge amount of heat and melt plastic TV sets if they were placed on top of them.

Andrea Bird, who lives next door with daughter Kate, was one of several neighbours who were temporarily evacuated from their homes at the time of the early hours blaze.

She said: “I knew Bill was in a serious way and I was told he suffered 50 per cent burns, but it still comes as a shock.”

And another neighbour, Marion Harley, said: “It’s very sad. You just don’t expect something like this to happen.”

After the blaze, firefighters who investigated the scene concluded that the fire had been caused by lighted candles, which had somehow ignited furnishings in Mr Thompson’s home.

Steve Chappell, station manager at Fleetwood, warned people to take care with candles, and said even small tealights could generate a huge amount of heat and melt plastic TV sets if they were placed on top of them.

He added: “We are always available to carry out fire safety checks on residents who are more vulnerable, and relatives can contact us if they are concerned.”

For information about safety checks or smoke alarms, phone 0800 169 11 25.