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Bearsted man Michael Regan dies from severe burns after blaze while trying to light gas heater as electricity switched off

By Claire McWethy

A Bearsted man died of severe burns three months after a fire at his home.

Michael Regan, 43, was trying to light a gas heater because his electricity had been switched off when the Lenside Drive blaze started in the early hours.

Matches, lighters and a candle holder were found at the house - but it is not known if the fire was started deliberately or by accident.

The house in Bearsted was badly damaged by fire

His electricity supply had been cut off in July - before the blaze at his home on October 17 last year.

Carpenter Mr Regan lived alone. He had escaped from his home after the fire started and banged on the door of neighbour Ken Hassett, 59, who and doused him with water until the fire crews came.

Mr Hassett told police he was awoken at around 3.45am.

He said: "I noticed he was badly burned. His skin on his hands was raw and was hanging off. The back of his head was badly burned."

Mr Regan was initially taken to King's College Hospital in London with 25% burns.

He was transferred to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, where he died on January 19.

The inquest took place at Archbishop's Palace

At an inquest at Archbishops' Palace heard his death was caused by pneumonia, caused by severe burns to his face, arms and back.

The fire started in the ground floor of his property, but quickly spread through the semi-detached home and reached the roof space, leaving the building badly damaged. Four fire engines tackled it at its height.

At the scene, Mr Regan told PC Michael Newman he had been trying to light a gas heater when it started. He said he could not put it out and suspected that the canister has blown up.

Fire investigators said there was no evidence of an explosion.

Coroner Patricia Harding recorded a verdict of accidental death.

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