The death of Eric Unwin, 91, was found to be accidentally caused by smoke inhalation resulting from a defective electric blanket, following an inquest heard by Senior Coroner for Nottinghamshire Miss Mairin Casey.
On Saturday 19 March Joint Fire Control received a call at 3.48 am to a house fire at 17 Greenholme Close, Kirkby-in-Ashfield.
Firefighters from Hucknall, who were crewing Ashfield at the time, Mansfield, Alfreton, Arnold, and Chesterfield fire stations responded to the call.
When the first fire engine arrived within six minutes of the 999 call, firefighters were met with a well-developed fire, with fire coming out of the bedroom window and through the roof.
Due to the intensity of the fire, crews initially fought the blaze from the outside but entered the house soon after where they located Mr Unwin in the lounge.
Firefighters carried Mr Unwin out of the house where he was given CPR on the scene but was later pronounced dead at the scene.
The subsequent post-mortem concluded his cause of death as smoke inhalation as a result of the fire. The coroner’s inquest heard how Mr Unwin had several old electrical items in his house, with his nighttime routine including using an electric radiator and blanket overnight.
He was also found to be using block plug adapters and daisy chaining, where extension leads are plugged into each other. Both practices can overload the electrics, cause overheating and result in fire.
A fire investigation concluded that the fire had started in the bedroom and spread to the whole bungalow. It was caused by a defective electric blanket.
The coroner, Miss Casey, was keen to reiterate the dangers of using electric items in an environment with bedding which could lead to a fire developing rapidly.
Group Manager Chris Emmott said: “Our thoughts go out to the family of Mr Unwin, and we send our condolences to them on their loss.
“With the winter months now here, more people will be using electric blankets and heaters so we would like to remind people of how to use these safely.
“You should not use an electric blanket or heater overnight and unplug them from the wall before you go to sleep. If you need to store an electric blanket, do not fold it as this can damage the cables but roll it up instead. Always buy electrical products from a reputable manufacturer with a Kitemark electrical safety marking and if you think they are damaged then please don’t use them.