A FIRE in which an 87-year-old man died, was probably caused by lighted material from his pipe setting fire to an armchair, an inquest at Ammanford was told last Friday.
Victor Honour, a fire brigade station officer, from Llanelli, said at the inquest on Mr. Joseph Thomas, a retired butcher, who died after a fire at his home, 28 Quay street, Ammanford, on February 11: “I should think that the fire was caused by discarded lighted smoking material which fell on to the upholstery of the armchair in the kitchen.”
A verdict of death by misadventure was returned on Mr. Thomas. Dr. A. L. Wells, consultant pathologist from Llanelli General Hospital said that death was caused by asphyxia due to carbon-monoxide poisoning.
Mr. William Vincent Thomas, the son of the dead man, who lived at the same address, then gave evidence,
He said that he had gone out of the house on the evening of February 11 and had left his father in the kitchen sitting watching the television. When he returned home at 10.45 p.m. he did not go to the kitchen but went straight to bed. His father was in bed by this time also. Said Mr. Thomas: “I woke in the night with a choking feeling and found the place filled with black smoke. I climbed out of the bedroom window and took the key to the back door with me and called the fire brigade. I called my father but there was no answer.
Mr. Thomas said that he opened the back door and called his father but there was no reply. The building was filled with black smoke and it was impossible for him to get inside.
Mrs. Marion Williams, the daughter of the dead man, said that she went out of the house in Quay street at about 9.45 p.m. and supposed that her father to bed. He had previously been sitting watching the television and smoking his pipe in front of the kitchen fire. There was a guard in front of the fire.
Police sergeant Edwin Thomas, of Ammanford, told the inquest how he had attempted to get up the stairs of the house after Mr. William Thomas had told him that his father was upstairs. But thick smoke had forced him back before he could even get near the first-floor landing.
Firemen who were fighting the fire were forced to wear breathing apparatus.
A fire brigade sub officer, Mr. Robert Bush, of Heol Wallasey, Ammanford, said that he broke into the dead man's bedroom through the window but found no one in the room. Mr. Thomas was found in the bathroom, in a kneeling position with his head on the side of the bath and was