Smoking Kills - Smoker killed by fireball after he dropped Zippo lighter on car seat

The Daily Mail
15 February 2012
     

Richard Read was killed when his car exploded into a fireball after he dropped a cigarette lighter on the passenger seat, an inquest has heard.  A smoker was killed when his car exploded into a fireball after he dropped a cigarette lighter on the passenger seat, an inquest has heard.

Richard Read, 61, suffered severe burns after he accidentally fumbled with the Zippo while lighting his pipe. The flame set fire to the passenger seat of his Hyundai Getz and within seconds the car was engulfed in flames. He managed to scramble out of the burning wreck but died days later from smoke inhalation and a stroke.

An inquest heard Read was smoking in his car outside his flat in Filey, North Yorkshire, on October 29 last year when he dropped the lighter. Witness Geoffrey Prior told the hearing at Scarborough Magistrates Court on Monday: 'We heard quite an explosion outside which we thought was a firework. 'It was then I saw a car blazing in the car park. 'His foot was more or less touching the vehicle as if he had fallen out of the car.'

Fire investigator Phil Whild said a Zippo lighter was the probable cause of the fire. He told the hearing: 'It is clear from the evidence that in the debris of the passenger side was an open Zippo lighter. 'Car fires tend to generate very rapidly and if a lighter like that is not moved from a car seat quickly, it is likely to catch fire. 'With it being an open flame source, it would take a short while to ignite in its surroundings. 'Zippo lighters have the ability to burn when dropped.'

Coroner Michael Oakley recorded a verdict of accidental death. He said: 'He [Mr Read] has clearly been trying to use a lighter in his car and it appears it was probably to light a pipe. 'For some reason, this has dropped and caused the fire which has quickly engulfed the car. 'He has been taken to hospital and it is apparent that he has suffered a stroke. 'He has died from the effects of the fire.'

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Reference Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2101560/Smoker-killed-fireball-dropped-Zippo-lighter-car-seat-lighting-pipe.html