Man killed after wheat bag overheated in Rotherham home

Glaisdale Close, Rotherham
Glaisdale Close, Rotherham

Firefighters have issued a warning about warming up wheat bags after a man died in a house fire in Rotherham.

Melvyn Gathercole, aged 77, died after wheat bag he had warmed up overheated and caused a slow burning fire.

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The OAP's body was found in the front room of his bungalow in Glaisdale Close, Laughton Common, when firefighters entered the property.

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The fire had burned itself out.

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A verdict of accidental death was recorded following an inquest into the death yesterday.

Station Manager Simon Rodgers, who investigated the cause of the fire, said: "No one deserves to die in these circumstances and ultimately any house fire death is preventable, regardless of any other factors which may have contributed to that person’s death.

"To ensure that microwavable heat bags are used safely, users should always ensure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, as these bags can become too hot if heated for longer than recommended.

"We want to again call on our partners in the health, housing and social care sectors to do more to help us identify those who are most at risk of fire, so that we can put extra measures in place to help prevent fatal fires."

He added: "Only purchase a wheat bag that comes with clear manufacturer instructions.

"Always follow manufacturers' instructions and never heat the bag for longer than recommended.

"If you know an elderly person who uses a wheat bag, explain the manufacturer’s instructions to them.

"Leave wheat bags to cool in a safe area and don’t use one in a confined space such as under bedding."