Eastbourne fire tragedy was started by candles

A coroner has urged people to be aware of the dangers of lighted candles after an Eastbourne businessman died in a blaze at his home last year.

Saturday, 8th April 2017, 6:30 pm
Updated Saturday, 8th April 2017, 10:25 pm
Businessman Paul Robinson died at his home in Chiltern Close in October last year

Sixty-year-old Paul Robinson was overcome by smoke after the flames from some candles he had lit in his bedroom spread to bedding and furniture.

His badly burnt body was found in the hallway of his home in Chiltern Close and at the inquest into his death this week, a coroner said it served as a reminder that people should take care with lighted candles and never leave them unattended.

The inquest was told Mr Robinson, a company director born and bred in Hackney, had ordered an Indian takeaway in the hours leading up to his death on Monday, October 17, last year and had several drinks.

The alarm was raised after midnight and emergency services were called to the scene of what was described at the time as ‘a very serious blaze’.

The house was structurally damaged and police guarded the property throughout the night as it was unsafe for investigators to go inside.

East Sussex fire investigator Andy May was one of the first allowed inside the house and said there was very severe fire damage on the first floor.

“In the bedroom in the corner there had been at least five candles on a mirror,” said Mr May. “That was the seat of the fire. Within minutes the whole room would have been ablaze.”

Detective Inspector Neil Ralph said a major investigation had been launched but officers were satisfied Mr Robinson had been alone at his home on the night of the fire.

Mr Robinson’s family, who were at the inquest, said he was very fond of burning candles.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner Alan Craze said, “This gentleman’s death sadly serves as an opportunity to remind the public that candles are dangerous.”