A retired dentist who burned to death accidentally set himself on fire after spilling flammable chemicals on his clothing, an inquest has heard.
Noel Cooney, 78, often enjoyed ‘tinkering’ in his surgery, making dental models and moulds for teeth, using chemicals and substances he still had access to in his retirement.
Many of these substances were flammable, and on the morning of 27 September he accidentally spilled some on his clothes.
Noel Cooney, 78, set himself on fire while working in his dentistry surgery (Picture: Metro News)Fire service incident intelligence officer Jim Stone, said: ‘It is highly likely that he then lit a cigarette, and the chemical, which can vapourise on release, and burn with no physical flame, has ignited, setting his clothes on fire.’
After realising he was on fire, Mr Cooney called out for his wife Patricia who found him in the surgery which formed part of their home near Blackburn, Lancashire.
Man blames hotel hot tub after infected pinky toe is amputatedShe desperately tried to pull her husband to safety but was pushed back by the flames and fled before calling 999.
Passer-bys also attempted to rescue Mr Cooney but couldn’t get more than six feet into the property before they were forced to retreat due to the thick smoke.
Patricia said: ‘He normally had a cigarette with his coffee in the morning and that morning he took his coffee from me and went into another room.
The surgery was part of his home in Lancashire (Picture: LeeMcLean/ SWNS)‘Within five or ten minutes I heard Noel shout my name and I went to find him and saw that he was in the surgery.
‘He was standing near the door to the waiting room, and he was on fire. There were flames on his clothes and arms.
‘I ran back into the front room to get a rug to cover the flames but when I returned he was sitting on the floor and the flames had spread and there was smoke everywhere.’
Following his tragic passing, the family of Mr Cooney, who was known to enjoy American Civil War re-enactments, told the Lancashire Telegraph: ‘He was amazing and would do anything for anyone.’
Coroner James Newman recorded a conclusion of misadventure due to the fact Mr Cooney had been using potentially dangerous chemicals which ignited after he lit a cigarette.
He added: ‘He wouldn’t have realised he was on fire until he felt some discomfort, and due to the smoke inhalation, Noel would have lost consciousness quite quickly.
‘I don’t believe he would have suffered for any period of time.’