Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Candlelight bike repair boy burned to death

Jack Sheldon Image copyright South Yorkshire Police
Image caption Jack Sheldon was found dead after the fire was put out

A 13-year-old boy died when petrol fumes ignited as he cleaned a motorcycle by candlelight.

Jack Sheldon's badly burnt body was found in a shed at his home in Campsall, South Yorkshire, by firefighters on 27 October last year.

His inquest at Doncaster Coroner's Court heard he died from breathing toxic fumes and the "rapid progression" of the blaze.

Coroner Nicola Mundy recorded a verdict of accidental death.

The inquest heard evidence from a number of people who made "valiant efforts" to put out the fire on Byron Avenue with bowls of water, fire extinguishers and hosepipes.

'He was unaware'

But Ms Mundy said: "It had been thought Jack was not in the shed but it quickly became apparent Jack had been in the shed throughout."

The coroner said Jack and a friend were using a candle for light as they stripped paint from the mini motorbike using rags and petrol, which was leaking on to the table, floor and carpet.

Jack's friend left and the inquest heard that fumes, which were likely to have built up in the shed, ignited a short time later.

The coroner said: "I feel quite satisfied that Jack would have instantly lost consciousness because of the toxic effect of those fumes and would have been unaware of what was happening from that point on."

Ms Mundy said she will also write to South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to raise concerns about a four-minute delay in their response, although she did not believe it would have changed the outcome.

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