Retained firefighter Colin Bennett of Broadwell Hill Top Cottages, Broadwell, near Moreton-in-Marsh died in June
11:07am Wednesday 31st October 2012 in News
A RETAINED firefighter from Broadwell near Moreton-in-Marsh died the day after disappearing for three hours, an inquest has heard.
Colin Bennett, 53, of Broadwell Hill Top Cottages had been in deteriorating health for two to three years before he died on Tuesday June 26, the inquest at Gloucester Coroner’s Court was told.
His sister Janet Philips said that, on Monday June 25, he “looked terrible” but decided to walk to the local supermarket.
“He returned after three hours muddy and empty handed,” she said. “He said he must have blacked out.”
She added, when his mother went to check on him the following afternoon, she found him motionless in bed and called paramedics, who confirmed he was dead.
Ms Philips told the inquest her brother had worked for a roofing company for the first 15 to 20 years of his adult life before setting up his own business, but he had never told her of any direct contact with asbestos.
However, she added, he would have encountered the poisonous material during his work, and also during his 19 years as a retained fireman, during which he often attended barn fires with asbestos roofs.
Despite suspicions that asbestos may have played a part in Mr Bennett’s death, pathologist Dr Keith McCarthy found no fibres of the deadly mineral in his lungs and said he died from emphysema, pneumonitis and ischaemic heart disease.
Assistant deputy Gloucestershire coroner Katy Skerrett said she had no choice but to record a verdict of death by natural causes as there was no evidence to show a link to asbestos.