Coroner's plea over old furniture after fatal fire
Northern Ireland's senior coroner has warned the public against having old furniture in their homes that does not meet fire safety levels.
John Leckey made his comments at an inquest into the death of a 58-year-old man whose house was turned into an inferno when an old settee in his living room caught fire.
The blaze at William Fleming's home at Magilligan, near Limavady, was started by two halogen heaters, one left on the sofa and one beside, causing a fire which quickly went out of control.
The intensity of the fire, which took plaster off the walls and burned through the roof of the house, made rescue attempts impossible, the court was told.
Mr Fleming's sister and brother Maureen and John and local community worker George Cooke were on the scene soon after the fire started, but despite their efforts they could not save Mr Fleming.
The Fire Service arrived at the scene shortly after the alarm was raised.
Four firefighters entered the house where they found Mr Fleming's body on the floor of his bedroom.
Fire Service investigating officer Brian Hassons said: "In our tests on old furniture like this sofa, a fire quickly develops and can reach temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees."
His death was recorded as poisoning by carbon monoxide and cyanide as well as smoke inhalation of toxic fumes.
Mr Leckey said: "People need to look at having old furniture in their homes that is not fire retardant."