Wolverhampton man killed after tea light blaze

A man died after tea lights caused a fire in his Wolverhampton home, it was claimed at an inquest.

West Midlands Fire Service
West Midlands Fire Service

Paul Victor Evans, aged 50, was found by police officers who had forced open the front door following reports of a fire and that a cat was trapped inside.

An inquest into his death at Smethwick Coroners Court was told that there was no electricity supply in the property in Cherry Street, Chapel Ash, Wolverhampton.

The hearing also found that tea lights were discovered in the home.

Firefighters who were called to the scene searched the rooms of the property and found in an upstairs bedroom at the premises on June 23 last year.

A West Midlands Fire Service report said there ‘severe smoke staining’ on Mr Evans’ skin. But there were no flames when the emergency crews arrived. As a result an investigation was launched to find the cause of the incident.

In his statement read out by Senior Black Country Coroner Mr Robin Balmain, fire investigator James MacDonald said: “In my opinion the fire was accidentally caused by misuse of a tea light.

"Tea lights were found in the fire debris. The lights might have come into contact with or close to combustible items. He was using them probably due to the fact that there was no electricity supply to the property and no lighting.

“It was a small and smouldering fire that spread to a computer, but failed to develop due to a lack of oxygen and burned itself out.”

The report stated that Mr Evans would have been in bed before becoming aware that something was wrong and tried to get out of the room.

It stated that a combination of carbon monoxide fumes caused by the fire and heavy alcohol levels ‘would have affected his ability to function’ normally.

Post mortem tests found he had suffered carbon monoxide poisoning and that he had 248 milligrammes of alcohol in his system. The legal limit for driving is 80.

At yesterday's hearing held in Walsall the Black Country Coroner Mr Robin Balmain concluded that his death was accidental.