Local News & Archive — July 1, 2016 at 9:57 am — Updated: July 1, 2016 at 10:11 am

Rhyl workshop owner’s death ‘accidental’

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A coroner has ruled the death of a businessman in a fire at his Rhyl workshop was accidental.

71 year-old Barrie Newton was killed in the blaze at the Lightworks shop on Vale Road on the night before Christmas Eve last year.

An inquest in Ruthin heard the cause of the fire was still unexplained – but Mr Newton had been suffering from spells of dizziness for a few months. A post-mortem examination found he had died from smoke inhalation.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service investigator Bob Mason told the hearing that the fire was already well alight and spread to the whole building when crews were called out at around 5pm. They could not enter the shop for around two hours because steel girders had buckled under the intensity.

Mr Mason said the fire appeared to have started near the rear door, near where Mr Newton’s body was found – with his feet on a plastic box. Because of the delay in entering the shop and the damage caused, it was impossible to determine the cause of the fire.

But Mr Mason, a station manager, speculated it was likely that Mr Newton could have suffered a dizzy spell while standing on the plastic box and ended up knocking something over – a view based on his medical history and where he was found.

Mr Newton had been living together in Rhuddlan with Mark Hewyard – they had entered a civil partnership in 2012. Mr Heyward said his partner had been a heavy smoker and was waiting for a hospital appointment.

He claimed Mr Newton had always gone outside for a cigarette – but Andrew Taylor, a colleague who repaired equipment for the owner, said there had been small fires at the shop, which had been started by cigarette butts.

Coroner John Gittins returned a verdict of accidental death.

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