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of the British Broadcasting Corporation

 

 

Friday, 2 November 2007, 11:59 GMT
Disabled man dies after bed blaze


A man with multiple sclerosis who was badly burned after accidentally setting fire to his bed has died in hospital.

Neville Badger, 46, who lived in St Georges, Weston-super-Mare, suffered 45% burns to his body.

His family claims it was a tragedy waiting to happen because North Somerset Council cut his care at home.

The authority said the incident was still being investigated but that Mr Badger had emergency support via an alarm system.

'Couldn't get out'

It is thought the blaze started when Mr Badger tried to light a cigarette, but was unable to escape the flames because of his disability.

He activated the emergency alarm fitted by the council, but the fire took hold before help arrived.

His brother David said: "His bed was on fire and he was totally incapable of dealing with it, he couldn't get out and he ended up with 45% burns.

He had been receiving support seven days a week to meet his care needs and always had access to emergency support
North Somerset Council

"There was always going to be a case of something like this happening to Neville, but when his care was withdrawn by social services, the writing was on the wall."

A statement from North Somerset Council said: "We are saddened and shocked to hear of Mr Badger's death.

"The council had supported Mr Badger to live at home for many years, as was his wish.

"He had been receiving support seven days a week to meet his care needs and always had access to emergency support via the community alarm service.

"Social workers and occupational therapists together with NHS colleagues reviewed his support arrangements on a regular basis.

"We cannot comment further on this matter as investigations into the incident are not yet complete."

Police said they were not treating the death as suspicious, but that they were "involved in some investigations on behalf of the coroner into the circumstances surrounding Mr Badger's death".