Weed killer flame gun death misadventure verdict

Generic flame gun weed killer Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Flame guns are typically used as an alternative to using chemical weed killers

An 86-year-old gardener died after being "consumed within a fireball" while using a flame gun used for killing weeds, an inquest has heard.

Francis Dunlop was fitting a canister onto the Kill Weed device in his garage in Bourne, Lincolnshire, when some of the gas spilled on his clothing.

His clothes were contaminated when he lit the gadget and he died despite a neighbour trying to save him.

Coroner Paul Cooper concluded his death was due to misadventure.

A report by Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, which was read out at the inquest in Boston, stated Mr Dunlop's death on 15 June 2015 was "the result of a tragic accident".

It said he "suffered from a severely reduced level of manual dexterity and movement" and as a result, could not get the tool's built-in ignition system to work.

'No fault with tool'

He was unaware his clothes had been contaminated when he used a hand-held lighter to ignite the device at his home on Betjeman Close.

"Mr Dunlop was consumed within a fireball which engulfed his person," Deputy Divisional Commander Ian Woods said in the report.

By the time his neighbour arrived Mr Dunlop was already on fire and standing in the doorway of his garage, he said.

Mr Woods said there were "clear instructions" on the canister, which showed it should be changed outdoors and a warning that a small amount of gas would be released during the fitting process.

He added the fire investigation officer had found no fault with the weed burner when it was tested.

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