Man died after fire in freezer

House fire at 55 Weeland Road Sharlston near Wakefield
House fire at 55 Weeland Road Sharlston near Wakefield

A GRANDFATHER died after a faulty freezer caught fire in his house, an inquest heard.

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

An inquest last Friday heard a smoke alarm alerted Mr Dix to the blaze, which started when a Beko freezer in his hallway malfunctioned.

Mr Dix, who was secretary of Old Sharlston Cricket Club for 30 years, unplugged the freezer, went to the kitchen to get water to douse the flames, but was overcome by smoke.

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

Mr Dix was rescued by firefighters and taken to Pinderfields Hospital. He died in the intensive care unit on January 22 after suffering bronchial pneumonia caused by smoke inhalation.

Investigations by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and an engineer found the freezer was too extensively damaged to pinpoint the fault that caused the fire.

But coroner David Hinchliff, who recorded a verdict of accidental death, said the blaze was likely to have been caused by a compressor. He suggested the fire service continue to liaise with Beko.

After the inquest the company told the Express they were working with the fire service and believed it was an “isolated incident”.

Mr Dix’s son Chris, 54, said: “He was very highly regarded in the village community, where he lived for most of his life. My father was a private person, but he was always willing to help others.

“The response from neighbours and friends following the fire has been fantastic.”