‘Know your escape routes’ says Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service after inquest into man who died at home

Fire and Rescue Service
Fire and Rescue Service
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Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service is asking people to know their escape routes and practise them with everyone in the household following an inquest into the death of a man from St Neots.

Edmund Baldwin (67) was overcome by fumes following a fire at his house in Hen Brook on June 14 this year.

The fire broke out under the stairs in a utility cupboard at around 5.30am and Mr Baldwin was found unconscious by firefighters by a rear door. Firefighters and police officers at the scene gave CPR but were unable to save him.

Station Commander Paul Clarke, community risk manager, said: “It is our belief that Mr Baldwin tried to escape after discovering the fire but there was no key in the back door. Smoke from a fire contains narcotic fumes which can cause a person to become disorientated, particularly when the smoke is also pitch black making visibility poor.

“There was a smoke alarm sounding in the property but it was on the first floor. We recommend a smoke alarm on each floor of the house so the smoke can be detected as early as possible.

“We also recommend keeping keys to your doors easily accessible, but also following police advice to keep them out of reach and sight from the letterbox.

“It may sound silly but practising your escape route is also very useful, especially if you have children in the house.

“With Christmas not too far around the corner now, it is often a time when many people have house guests staying over. Make sure they know where keys are kept and where exit doors are too.”

The coroner last Thursday (November 26) recorded a verdict of accidental death. The fire started accidentally in a fuse box.

Further advice about staying safe in your home can be found at www.cambsfire.gov.uk