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Grandfather died after setting himself on fire while lighting barbecue, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 17:03 15 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:03 15 October 2018

The Coroners Court at Beacon House, White House Road, Ipswich Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

The Coroners Court at Beacon House, White House Road, Ipswich Picture: ADAM HOWLETT


A grandfather-of-three from Aldeburgh died after setting himself on fire while lighting a barbecue, an inquest has heard.

Irvine Potter, 66, who was known as ‘Toody’, died on June 20 at Broomfield Hospital’s specialist burns unit in Chelmsford.

Ay an inquest today, assistant coroner Kevin McCarthy said Mr Potter was lighting a barbecue at his home in The Plantation, on June 18 when his clothes caught fire.

“Toody was a 66-year-old man who sustained flame burn injuries while trying to ignite a barbecue in the garden,” he said.

“He had put an accelerant into the barbecue to get it started.

“The flames had engulfed his torso and upper limbs.

“He extinguished the flames himself using his hands.

“Most of his shirt had burned away.”

Mr McCarthy said despite suffering burns over 32% of his body, Mr Potter had called an ambulance himself and took a cold shower while waiting for them to arrive.

“They found him sitting on sa bench waiting for them,” said Mr McCarthy

He was rushed to the burns unit at Broomfield Hospital however it was later discovered he had also suffered burns to his airway while his head had been covered with flames.

Mr McCarthy said Mr Potter’s health had deteriorated in hospital and he passed away.

A post mortem examination had revealed the cause of Mr Potter’s death as multi-organ failure, flame burns and ischemic heart disease.

A letter from Mr Potter’s family was read aloud during the hearing where they described ‘Toody’ as ‘one of a kind’.

A popular motorcyclist - described as having tattoos, long hair and a beard - his family said he was a family man who enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and playing darts with his friends.

They said more than 400 people had attended his funeral - where the procession was led by a motorcycle hurse.

Mr McCarthy concluded Mr Potter’s death was the result of an accident.

He warned the public to not use petrol or other accelerants to light barbecues.

“It has killed a man, a dad, a grandfather, someone who seemed to be central to his local community.

“It is a tragedy in all fronts.”

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