Grandfather Unable to Escape Fatal Blaze


    A grandfather has died in a fire at his family home despite his grandson’s desperate attempts to save him, an inquest heard.

    Invalid Brent Mason could not leave his bed when the blaze began in his downstairs bedroom at the house in The Drove, Calmore.

     Mr Mason’s 17-year-old grandson, Brett, ran into the room in an attempt to save him, but was quickly forced back by the waist-high flames and thick smoke.

    The inquest, being held in Winchester, heard how Mr Mason would have died quickly in the fire on the morning of August 5th this year.

    Tests are still being conducted on the electric motor of the hospital bed he was sleeping in an attempt to pinpoint the cause of the blaze.

    Firefighters from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service arrived on the scene nine minutes after receiving the first 999 call, but were forced to fight the fire through the window, as the intense heat of the fire prevented them from entering the bedroom.

    Elizabeth Mason, Brent Mason’s widow, told the inquest how she had been asleep in an upstairs bedroom with her great-grandson Buster when she was woken by the smoke alarms.

    “I jumped straight out of bed as soon as I heard them,” she said.  “As I ran downstairs, the smoke was coming up to meet me.”

    “I didn’t go into Brent’s room, there was too much smoke.”

    Mrs Mason and the younger family members ran from the house.

    “By then the windows were popping, it was all so fast.  It just happened in minutes.”

    The inquest heard that Mr Mason could not leave his bed after suffering a brain haemorrhage and a series of strokes in recent years.

    Eleven members of the family were living at the home at the time of the fire, though most had left for work by the time the fire broke out.

    Recording an accidental death verdict, senior central Hampshire coroner Grahame Short said: “It must have been a terrible way to die and my heart goes out to his family.

    “On the balance I’m more inclined to view this as a result of an electrical failure of some kind involving the bed pump or motor.”



Story written by the Southampton Daily Echo:



Collated by Philip Turnbull

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