A much-loved teacher has died after an accidental fire in his Middlesbrough flat caused by lighting a cigarette

A beloved teacher lost his life after a fire broke out at his home in Middlesbrough.

James McQueen died at James Cook University Hospital after being rescued from his flat in Clareville Road, Middlesbrough, where a fire broke out on August 6 last year. The 52-year-old died after suffering cardiac arrest due to smoke inhalation, the Teesside Coroner’s Court has heard.

Cleveland police looked into the circumstances surrounding the fire, but officers were confident there was no indication of third party involvement. Mr. McQueen, who was a catechist, has been described as a much-loved and missed son, brother and uncle.

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Pictures from the scene at the time show several parked emergency vehicles and officers standing guard. In total, three fire engines attended the scene and the Cleveland Fire Brigade confirmed that firefighters rescued a man.

An investigation by the brigade found that the most likely cause was smoking paraphernalia. Karen Welch, an assistant coroner, said: “They thought the most likely scenario was where a lit cigarette came into contact with the bed, and that’s how the fire started.”

During the hearing, which took place on Tuesday at Teesside Corner Court, Mr McQueen’s sister asked if the door to his flat was locked as they were told people had tried to get him out of the flat before the fire brigade arrived.

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