Man, 85, died try­ing to flee burn­ing home

Macclesfield Express - - BEFORE THE BENCH - STU­ART GREER

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’

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