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  1. ITV Report

Death of bipolar man in fire ruled as accident

Bob Crane died in a flat fire in Bristol in September 2014 Credit: SWNS

A coroner has ruled that the death of a man from Bristol who set his apartment alight was an accident. Bob Crane, who was 61, had a long history of mental health problems.

He died in his flat in Kingsdown in September 2014. The whole building was evacuated as the fire spread through the apartment block in central Bristol. It took moments for the smoke to kill Mr Crane.

Tackling the fire that killed Bob Crane - the fire he lit himself Credit: Robin Crowther-Smith

Mr Crane suffered from bipolar disorder and hoarded things in his flat. The fire service was repeatedly called to him setting things alight - on the balcony. The inquest into his death heard his mental health had affected his life for years but the Coroner did not criticise the authorities.

His son Alex Crane is dismayed by this and feels his father was let down by the agencies involved.

The Coroner had the option of criticising Bristol City Council and mental health services but he said that after five days of hearing evidence, he was not persuaded to do so. He recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Mike Hennessey from Bristol City Council says lessons have been learned.

A serious case review published this week into Mr Crane's death found failings and made six recommendations.

A spokesperson from Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust has given this statement following the verdict.

We offer our condolences to the family and friends of Mr Crane for their loss.

We are committed to doing all we can to safeguard people in our care and have fully cooperated with the Coroner’s inquest.

We acknowledge the finding of the Coroner to be one of accidental death with no criticism of mental health services or staff.

– Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust
Damage to the block of flats in Kingsdown caused by the fatal fire Credit: ITV News