A family has paid tribute to a ‘funny’ and ‘loveable’ grandad and great grandad killed in an accidental fire at his home.
An inquest heard 94-year-old widower Victor Percy Horton, a retired fitter with ICI, died during a blaze at his bungalow in Wellswood Road, Ellesmere Port, on January 26.
Assistant coroner for Cheshire Michael Wallbank thanked Mr Horton’s granddaughter Michelle for working out how her beloved grandad had probably died.
Fire investigator Ian Kay had already determined the main source of the fire was an armchair in the living room left close to an ignited gas fire.
Michelle told the inquest her Chester-born grandfather - who grew up in the Sealand Road area - would have been resting his feet in the chair, as he often did, while sitting in another armchair as he watched the TV, which was on when fire crews arrived.
It is believed he had fallen asleep but had awoken only to be overcome by toxic fumes. He collapsed on to the floor where he was found deceased by firefighters who broke in after being alerted by a neighbour about 8.15am.
Michelle, who has a 17-month-old daughter Olivia, said of her grandad: “He was amazing. He was funny. I was always with him. He loved Olivia, he loved my daughter. I think Olivia gave him a new lease of life actually.
“He just loved his family. He was stubborn but he was very funny. He just used to say the wrong things but they were just dead funny. He would say it how it was. He was loveable - stubborn, loveable and funny!”
She said her grandfather, who the inquest heard was receiving treatment for prostate cancer and had glaucoma, high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease, walked with a stick but was full of life.
“I took him out all the time and my dad took him out,” explained Michelle. “He loved going shopping, he loved his meals, he loved being out of the house.”
And the inquest heard that when Mr Horton’s son Graham, Michelle’s dad, dropped him at home the day before the fire, following a trip to Ellesmere Port Asda, he was excited about meeting up with her and great granddaughter Olivia the very next day.
Recalling hearing the tragic news, Michelle said: “It was horrible because I was getting ready to take him out that day and I got a knock on the door from the police lady and she told me what had happened.
“My grandad was my best friend,” added Michelle, 26, who became especially close to grandad after his wife Helen, her grandmother, passed away about 10 years ago.
She has even had a ring made incorporating her loved one’s ashes. “We were partners in crime!” she joked.
The coroner found Mr Horton, a father of three sons, with seven grandchildren and ‘a number’ of great grandchildren, died as a result of an accident.