Christmas Day Cleckheaton fire tragedy caused by fall onto heater

Fire crews were unable to save Mr Murphy.
Fire crews were unable to save Mr Murphy.

A man who died in a house fire on Christmas Day is thought to have fallen onto a heater, a report from the fire service has revealed.

The fire happened early on December 25 on Prospect Street, Cleckheaton and led to the death of a 63-year-old man, who has since been named as Peter Murphy.

More details of that death, and two other deaths in house fires, have been revealed in a new report by the West Yorkshire Fire Authority. The report looks into incidents dealt with by the fire service between August and December – a period in which there were three fatal house fires.

On the Cleckheaton fire the report says: “Records show he had a hearing impairment and took medication for depression and back pain. There were also concerns that a mixture of alcohol and medication was elevating his risk level. Our interventions resulted in the installation of telecare and a deaf alarm system. His level of engagement on the fire safety advice given is recorded as low.

“Evidence at the time of the investigation suggests that the deceased has consumed sufficient alcohol to incapacitate him and as a result he has rolled from the sofa in the living room onto a halogen heater. Investigations are continuing.”

His inquest opened last month and was adjourned for a full hearing.