Man died after heater set bed alight
An inquest has heard how a man died after an electric heater set fire to his bed during last year's severe winter cold snap.
The hearing at Dungannon court heard that 58-year-old Michael Lucas, known as Mickey to friends, was found dead by police in his Carrickmore home on December 28 last after concerned neighbours called them.
Coroner Brian Sherrard confirmed the council worker died from smoke inhalation after police gave evidence that an electric heater appeared to have set fire to a bed he was lying on.
Mr Lucas died during a week labelled one of the coldest in decades. Deep snow combined with record low temperatures brought most of the country to a halt forcing many people to stay indoors for several days over the Christmas period.
Police were called to Mr Lucas's McKeone Villas home after neighbours became worried they hadn't seen him out and about for two days. When they went to his house in search of him they saw him through a window lying on a bed.
On entering the house Constable Sorcha McAloon confirmed she smelled smoke. In the bedroom of the bungalow she found Mr Lucas lying on his back on the bed.
PSNI Sergeant Richard Dunn said that he found no evidence of anything suspicious.