Barnsbury man Raymond Lister, 86, died as he tried to extinguish fire started by 60W bulb in his bed
PUBLISHED: 13:55 15 August 2016 | UPDATED: 13:58 15 August 2016
An elderly Barnsbury man collapsed and died while tackling a fire in his bedroom, an inquest heard today.
Raymond Lister, 86, of Ripplevale Grove, was described at St Pancras Coroner’s Court as a “proud man who would never ask for help”.
It meant that when an old lamp blew on his bed on February 20, causing it to smoulder, the grandfather – who lived alone – tried to extinguish it himself on February 20.
But Mr Lister, an electrician who worked at the Daily Mail before retiring in the 1980s, had been suffering health problems, recently fainting at a bus stop in Camden.
He collapsed on a staircase while fetching a glass of water to put out the fire, suffering fatal carbon monoxide poisoning.
Having smelled smoke, desperate neighbours smashed down his door just after midnight.
But the court heard the fire was likely to have started three to four hours before, as his usual bedtime was about 8.30pm.
After firefighters carried him from the house and performed CPR for 20 minutes, Mr Lister was pronounced dead at the scene.
Fire investigator Mick Boyle told the court: “The house was in very good order: tidy. We went into the bedroom. All the double bed had been consumed by fire.”
There was no other damage to the room, and Mr Boyle explained: “The fire hadn’t been intense. It had smouldered over some time, possibly three or four hours.
“We found on the floor a 1920s Art Deco-style lamp. It was in close proximity to the part of the bed with the deepest charring. It had a 60-watt bulb, which has the potential to initiate a smouldering fire when in contact with fabric or paper.
“We found the bulb had blown and must have come into contact with the bedding. I believe Mr Lister, being the type of man he was, described as very independent, went to get a glass of water to extinguish the fire – rather than leave the building. As a former electrician, he would have been very confident.
“But because of his poor health, with complaints of breathlessness, he suddenly collapsed on the stairs.”
Senior coroner Mary Hassell recorded a verdict of accidental death, saying: “If Mr Lister had been younger and fitter, he probably wouldn’t have succumbed. He had a heart condition and was always terribly independent. Unfortunately, he was overcome by smoke and collapsed.”