Toxic fumes and drug overdose led to death

The scene after the fire in Omega House
The scene after the fire in Omega House
The car was burned from the front through the interior. Picture: David George

Vehicle is burned out in Portsmouth car park blaze

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A FIRE that claimed the life of a man in a fifth-floor flat started when a cigarette was left burning.

Adrian Hamm died after the blaze engulfed his home in Omega House, Somers Town, on the afternoon of December 20 last year.

An inquest heard the 47-year-old had taken a potentially lethal quantity of amphetamines and failed to notice a lit cigarette had dropped on to his bedroom floor.

The fire set light to Mr Hamm’s collection of video cassettes which melted causing toxic smoke to fill his flat.

A pathologist determined it was probably a combination of smoke inhalation and a drug overdose which killed the former tutor.

His mum, Rosemary Hamm, from Waterlooville, said her son had been popular and his death was a tragic accident.

‘The number of people who came to his funeral just showed how well-loved he was,’ she said.

‘He had been looking forward to Christmas and had already wrapped all his presents. It is such a waste – he did take tablets and I warned him it would lead to this, but I didn’t really understand what they were or why he took them.’

A cleaner raised the alarm at around 4pm after seeing black smoke coming from under the door of Mr Hamm’s flat.

He was found unconscious in his living room and was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, but could not be revived.

After the fire had been put out, residents were evacuated for three hours when firearms and grenades were found inside the flat. The Navy Bomb Disposal Team was called and quickly determined the weapons were part of a collection of replicas.

Assistant deputy coroner Karen Harrold recorded a verdict of accidental death and said it was clear that Mr Hamm had many people who cared about him.

She said: ‘On the day he died, Adrian wasn’t capable of realising the danger he was in when the fire started, and this led to him inhaling a lot of toxic smoke.

‘Combined with the large amount of amphetamines there was only ever going to be one outcome.’