Norfolk

Nathan Dean inquest: Fire death after man fell asleep with lit cigarette

Nathan Dean Image copyright Dean family
Image caption Nathan Dean had just moved into a house run by the homelessness charity the Purfleet Trust

A man died in a fire on his first night in a halfway house after falling asleep with a lit cigarette, an inquest heard.

Nathan Dean, 43, died on 2 September at the Purfleet Trust-run property in King's Lynn, Norfolk, where smoking was banned.

The trust and owners Freedbridge Community Housing have reviewed safety and are considering fitting sprinklers.

Coroner Jacqueline Lake concluded Mr Dean died accidentally, from burns and carbon monoxide poisoning.

The inquest was told Mr Dean, a father of two, was a "friendly, happy" man, but had been a long-term alcoholic.

He had been a heavy smoker and had a habit of falling asleep with a cigarette still alight, the court heard.

'Sad set of circumstances'

Police had been called to the property on Losinga Road hours before the fire broke out when Mr Dean set off the fire alarm, but they reset the system.

In the early hours of September 2, a passing taxi driver saw the house was on fire and raised the alarm. No-one else was in the house at the time.

Mr Dean's sister Tracey and brother Tim, who were at the inquest, later said they hoped lessons could be learned from their brother's "tragic" death.

"Hopefully somebody else isn't going to have to go through what we've been going through," said Ms Dean.

Purfleet Trust chief executive Paula Hall said it was looking at linking fire alarms to monitoring systems as staff were not always on site.

"We can't take responsibility for everybody's actions at every point in the day," she said, speaking outside the court.

"It was a really sad set of circumstances that led to Nathan's death."

The homeless charity manages 29 people in six properties.

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