West Sussex Coroner demands action to save lives

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A CORONER of West Sussex is writing to the government for the third time in a year after a vulnerable person died because there was no batteries in his smoke alarm.

An inquest heard Trevor Barwick, 87, of Manor Road, Selsey, was drying his clothes on his walking frame next to the oven door, on March 31, when they caught alight.

The smoke from the smouldering clothing caused Mr Barwick to die of carbon monoxide inhalation in his sleep.

The hearing in Worthing was told he did not have a battery in the smoke detector in the rented flat.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue recommends that hard-wired smoke detectors, powered by the mains, are installed in all premises.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner Penelope Schofield said: ‘There have been three deaths within West Sussex in the last 12 months, all involving vulnerable people where there was smoke detectors with no batteries in them. There is a need for protection to be given to the vulnerable.’