Man, 85, died trying to flee burning home
AN elderly man collapsed near his front door as he tried to flee his burning home.
Ray Booth was found across the threshold of the front door by a neighbour - but could not be saved, an inquest heard.
The hearing was told that fire was started by a cigarette at his home in Coppice Road, Poynton, on May 25.
An inquest at Macclesfield town hall heard 85-year-old Mr Booth was partially sighted and suffered from mobility problems.
He was a heavy smoker and become ‘slap dash’ with how he handled his smoking materials, friend Nita Bentley said.
Fire investigator Tony Hodgkinson concluded Mr Booth had “napped while smoking and dropped his cigarette but because of his poor eyesight was unable to retrieve it quickly enough to prevent the fire”.
Recording a conclusion of accidental death, coroner Michael Wallbank said: “It was clear he was in poor health. The fire started in the liv- ing room probably caused by a cigarette. Once he realised he tried to leave the house but unfortunately he wasn’t able to do so.”
Ms Bentley, a friend of 18 years, visited Mr Booth almost every day to help care for him.
“In the months before his death, he was so immobile, he slept in armchair in his living room, she said.
Ms Bentley described Mr Booth as a ‘ heavy smoker’ who disposed of cigarettes in a metal bin by his chair, which he also filled with old tissues.
She said: “There were burn holes in a blanket he used. He had become slapdash with the way he was extinguishing his cigarettes.”
Neighbour Mary Parker raised the alarm at 7.45am when she saw ‘black billowing smoke’ coming from the house.
She said: “I ran up and found Ray lying face down out of the front door. I couldn’t have saved him.”
A post-mortem examination concluded Mr Booth died from the effects of fire. The inquest also heard Mr Booth had an Emergency Lifeline Pendant, but it could not be found.
As previously reported in the Express, Mr Booth was well known in Poynton and devoted much of his life to the Vernon Building Society (Poynton) Brass Band, where he played tenor horn for almost 40 years.
He joined when he was 16, but was forced to retire when he was diagnosed with macular degeneration.
He then became its president and continued to travel to the band’s competitions and concerts until 2015 when his health and mobility deteriorated.
In tributes made following his death, Ray Booth, 85, from Poynton, was described as a ‘jolly, funny man’