Man died after cigarette caused car fire

PUBLISHED: 12:11 27 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:34 06 May 2010

Firefighters and police investigators at the scene of the tragedy in January

Firefighters and police investigators at the scene of the tragedy in January

A FALLEN cigarette is thought to have caused the death of a heavy smoker who fell asleep while listening to music in his parked car. Douglas Flack, 33, of High Street, Langford, died on January 28 this year after a fire in his BMW. An inquest heard this w

A FALLEN cigarette is thought to have caused the death of a heavy smoker who fell asleep while listening to music in his parked car.

Douglas Flack, 33, of High Street, Langford, died on January 28 this year after a fire in his BMW.

An inquest heard this week that earlier in the evening Mr Flack had been drinking in the Wrestlers pub in the village.

Coroner David Morris said that a forensic examination had found the amount of alcohol in Mr Flack's urine was three times over the driving limit. Mr Flack, who was the managing director of his own business, had left the pub at about 11pm and was later seen listening to music in his car, which was parked on his driveway, by his neighbour.

At about midnight the neighbour went to ask him to turn down the volume of the music.

The fire service was called four hours later, and as firefighters tackled the blaze, they found Mr Flack's body inside the car.

Several causes, including an electrical fault, deliberate ignition by Mr Flack or a third party, and accidental ignition were considered by both police and fire service investigators.

The police ruled out a third party's involvement and although Mr Flack had suffered depression after he lost his leg in an accident in 1999, a fire service investigator said Mr Flack's family had said he was happy and "had shown no signs of depression before the fire".

And Det Sgt Scott Winton from Dunstable CID said witnesses who had seen Mr Flack earlier that evening had commented that he was in "good spirits".

Det Sgt Winton also reported that there was a suggestion from Mr Flack's family that he had a history of falling asleep in bed with a lit cigarette.

Mr Morris concluded that there was "no evidence to suggest beyond all probability that he had set about taking his own life".

He added: "The most likely scenario is he fell asleep listening to some music in the car and as the result of a cigarette a fire started somewhere in the car."

Mr Morris recorded a verdict of accidental death.


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