House fire death tragedy of Leeds man who tried to put blaze out using pan and bathwater

Lindsay Farquharson
Lindsay Farquharson
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A HOMEOWNER with no house or buildings insurance was trying to extinguish a serious  blaze at his house in Leeds  when he died after  being overcome by smoke and heat, an inquest heard.

An inquest at Wakefield was told 42-year-old drug user Lindsay Farquharson bought the house on Harehills Lane, Harehills, after inheriting money following the death of his parents and was trying to save it after a fire broke out in the early hours of April 27 last year.

The scene of the fatal blaze

The scene of the fatal blaze

The blaze - which was so intense it caused the roof of the house to collapse - started in an upstairs bedroom after Mr Farquharson's partner Gemma Wells placed clothes on a high intensity lamp being used to heat and light the bedroom.

Miss Wells told police she wanted to dim the light from the lamp, which the inquest heard was of the type often used in the cultivation of cannabis.

Father-of-one Mr Farquharson, who had been sleeping in a downstairs room after he and and Miss Wells had argued, went into the bedroom and woke her.

The inquest heard Miss Wells left the house and Mr Farquharson attempted to put the fire out, using a saucepan and water from the bath.

The scene of the fatal blaze

The scene of the fatal blaze

Firefighters were quickly on the scene after being alerted by neighbours and discovered Mr Farquharson lying on the bathroom floor.

Attempts were made by paramedics to revive him outside the house, but he was declared dead just after 3.30am that morning.

Toxicology tests revealed Mr Farquharson had taken heroin, methadone, cocaine and phenazepam, before his death.

Forensic pathologist Dr Michael Parsons conducted a post mortem and found that Mr Farquharson died from smoke inhalation and said the drugs in his system were a contributory factor in his death.

The scene of the fatal blaze

The scene of the fatal blaze

West Yorkshire Fire Service fire investigator Gary Kendrew said: "It had been a very intensive fire that started in a rear bedroom but also spread and affected the roof space, so much so that it resulted in the collapse of the roof."

The inquest heard there were no smoke alarms in the house.

Mr Farquharson's ex-wife Helen told police in a statement that he had previously had a cannabis grow in the front room of his house on Harehills Lane.

Detective Constable Ian Johnson of West Yorkshire Police told the inquest Mr Farquarson had bought the house with inheritance money following the death of his parents.

Det Cons Johnson, said: "It (the house) was the only thing he owned in his life. He didn't have any house insurance or buildings insurance. He wrapped a T shirt around his head, he was using the water from the bath tub trying to put out the flames, it was just tragic."

Recording a verdict of accidental death, area coroner Jonathan Leach, said: "He attempted to put out the fire himself, failing to appreciate how quickly one can be overcome by smoke."