Blaze which led to grandad’s death caused by faulty freezer

HOUSE FIRE: The scene of the blaze in which Henry Dix died.
HOUSE FIRE: The scene of the blaze in which Henry Dix died.
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A faulty freezer caused a fire which led to a grandfather’s death, an inquest heard.

Retired mining engineer Henry Dix, 83, died five days after suffering smoke inhalation during a blaze at his home in Weeland Road, Sharlston, near Wakefield, in the early hours of January 17.

An inquest at Wakefield heard a smoke alarm alerted widower Mr Dix to the blaze, which started when the Beko freezer in the hallway of his three-bedroom semi-detached home malfunctioned.

Mr Dix unplugged the freezer and went to the kitchen to get water to try to douse the flames, but he was overcome by smoke.

A neighbour and passer by smashed windows and tried to rescue him but were thwarted by thick smoke.

Mr Dix was taken to Pinderfields Hospital at Wakefield by ambulance.

He died in the intensive care unit on January 22 after suffering bronchial pneumonia caused by smoke inhalation.

Fire investigator Gary Kendrew, of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, asked a consulting engineer to examine the freezer. But the damage to the freezer was too extensive to pinpoint the fault that caused the fire.

Coroner David Hinchliff said to Mr Kendrew: “As far as you can say, the likelihood is it would have been the compressor that would have been the problem, but that can only be speculated.”

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Hinchliff, said: “I have suggested Mr Kendrew continues to liaise with the manufacturers of the freezer, because obviously something has gone wrong with a component in that to start the fire.” The court heard Mr Kendrew had liaised with the Metropolitan Police in relation to a fatal fire in London involving a Beko freezer. The freezer involved in that incident had been the subject of a product recall.

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