A pensioner passed away after he trousers and duvet caught fire on a halogen heater.
Ernest Poulton – known locally as Ernie – suffered severe burns in the blaze at his home in Braunton, North Devon.
The 85-year-old was airlifted to Southmead Hospital, Bristol where they treated him for severe burns and smoke inhalation.
But due to the severe nature of his injuries, he was then taken to the specialist burns unit at Morriston Hospital, Swansea. Mr Poulton’s injuries were so bad that he had to have both legs amputated following the fire last April.
Ernest Poulton – known locally as Ernie – suffered severe burns in the blaze at his home in Braunton, North Devon. Mr Poulton with his dog tank in 2004 (pictured)
He passed away in Morriston Hospital in May, a little more than a month after the incident.
The former warehouse worker was known to suffer from severe medical conditions and poor mobility. He had been sat in his armchair in front of the heater when the blaze started.
Roy Scott, one of Mr Poulton’s regular helpers, and Philip Doswell were alerted to an alarm coming from the home and saw smoke coming from the letter box.
In a statement read out in court, Mr Scott said: ‘When I opened the front door I was greeted by thick black smoke.
‘I opened the rear door to air the property but when I did there was a woosh and the flames on the carpet reignited.
‘I saw the heater was on the floor and turned it off at the switch. It was fire side down on the carpet.’
Mr Scott rushed to the kitchen to fetch water to put out the fire and saw Mr Poulton lying on the floor naked.
He said: ‘I thought he was dead as I could get no response from him.
The incident happened at Mr Poulton’s home in Braunton, North Devon
‘I managed to get him up into his wheelchair and got him outside, that was when the fire service arrived.’
Roy said earlier that day there had been a half-full whiskey bottle by Ernie’s armchair which now had just an inch of liquid left in it.
Both Roy and neighbour Philip had to be treated for smoke inhalation and taken to North Devon District Hospital.
The Devon coroner Dr Elizabeth Earland ruled Mr Poulton’s death accidental.