Essex

Rayleigh house fire most likely caused by cigarette

Bryan Chinnery Image copyright Chinnery family
Image caption Bryan Chinnery died in a fire which was most likely started by a cigarette or lighter

A disabled man died in a fire that was most likely to have been caused by either his cigarette or lighter, an inquest has heard.

Bryan Chinnery, 78, had multiple sclerosis (MS), heart disease and an amputated leg.

He died at his home in Ferndale Road, Rayleigh, when a fire broke out on 14 February.

Residents tried to rescue him but were beaten back by the smoke and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded the death as an accident at the inquest in Chelmsford.

'We knew it was a risk'

Mr Chinnery's stepdaughters, Linda Livermore and Christine Swain, said they and his carers worried about him smoking in bed.

"He could have gone to a care home, but he can't smoke in a care home, so wouldn't go," said Ms Livermore.

"We knew it was a risk - we would be lying if we said we didn't think it was - but nothing had combusted before.

"If we knew this was going to happen, of course we would have taken his cigarettes away."

Image caption Neighbours tried to rescue Mr Chinnery but were beaten back by smoke

The sisters, who said they visited him four times a week, said he was an avid Tottenham Hotspur fan who worked as a quantity surveyor for Sydney Gordon Nolans in London from the age of 16 to 67.

His son was the media lawyer Paul Chinnery, who died from cancer in 2012.

"He was a lover of sport, very active in younger years, which made the diagnosis of MS in his 30s very hard for everybody. He fought the MS bravely and continued to go to work," said Ms Livermore.

She also added that his carers went "above and beyond" for him, visiting him four times a day.

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