A drunk firefighter died in a chip pan fire at his home after drinking seven pints of lager and four Jack Daniels and cokes, an inquest heard.
Paul Oulton, 43, was found by colleagues who arrived at his house after a neighbour called emergency services.
Paul, who was a retained firefighter at Launceston Community Fire Station in Cornwall, was in ‘good spirits and looking forward to the future’ on the night of his death, the inquest in Truro heard.
Mr Oulton’s neighbour Adam Smith told the inquest he heard a smoke alarm at around 2.30am on Monday, 2 April.
He went outside to investigate, realising it was coming from Mr Oulton’s semi-detached house.
He immediately called the emergency services and a fire crew from Launceston arrived within 10 minutes.
Firefighters entered the house and discovered their colleague kneeling over a sofa in the living room.
Paramedics performed CPR on the fireman but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Launceston fire station manager David Pilling told the inquest that a chip pan had caused a fire in the kitchen.
The lounge where his colleague was found was smoke logged but the fire was already out by the time the crew arrived.
A post-mortem revealed that Mr Oulton, who had two daughters and a son, had 140mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood.
He had suffered smoke inhalation and also a blood clot in his coronary artery.
Mr Pilling told the inquest that he believed there were two likely scenarios in his colleague’s death – he had fallen asleep and been overcome by smoke or he had a medical problem and then been overcome by the smoke.
Assistant coroner Andrew Cox said there was no evidence to say one way or another.
Mr Cox said: ‘Mr Oulton either fell asleep and the chip pan caught fire and he was overcome as a consequence and the thrombosis was caused by CPR or, after putting the chip pan on the hob, he had a medical episode as a result of the clot, collapsed and then inhaled the gases from the chip fire.
‘In either event, the fire plays a significant role so I cannot say it is death from natural causes.’
He conclude Mr Oulton’s death was the result of an accident.