An 88-year-old pensioner died after being unable to escape his bungalow when a fire broke out.  

The body of Stephen Webster was discovered inside his home off Greenwood Way in the Heartsease area of the city. 

A Norwich-based court heard how an investigation by the fire service revealed that a fire began inside the kitchen. 

It is believed that Mr Webster had carried a lit briquette, which had fallen from the gas fire in the lounge, into the kitchen sink where he believed it would be safe to let it cool down. 

Soon after, the briquette burned through the sink and its pipework, causing both a fire and flooding inside the home. 

Mr Webster was found deceased by his daughter on his lounge floor at around 2pm on June 3.    

Led by area coroner Samantha Goward, an inquest into his death took place on November 28 at Norfolk Coroner’s Court based at County Hall.  

She said: “I think it’s very clear from the evidence from the fire investigation, that this was a tragic accident. 

“Mr Webster appears to have been trying to take a briquette that had fallen from the gas fire through to the kitchen … then put it on the sink, and understandably thought that was a safe place to leave it to cool down. 

“Sadly, it’s led to the fire starting. 

“By the time he was aware, he was unable to get out of the property and was overcome by the carbon monoxide.” 

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The fire investigation went on to explain that the bungalow would have become engulfed in “significant quantities” of smoke within minutes and that the kitchen had been “his only means of escape”. 

The medical cause of death was given as smoke inhalation, and the coroner concluded an accidental death. 

In a statement read to the court, his daughter and son-in-law described him as “a lovely man”. 

Mr Webster was a retired groundsman. His partner of 40 years died in 2020.