AN ELECTRIC blanket has been blamed for the death of a pensioner in a fire in Llangollen.
John Jones Morris, 79, was pulled from his flat on Dee Lane by firefighters in the early hours of Monday, but paramedics could not save him.
The tragedy has prompted renewed warnings about the dangers of electric blankets.
It has emerged that hours before the blaze, there was a smell of burning at the pensioner’s flat.
Mr Morris was having a drink at the Hand Hotel in Bridge Street, Llangollen, on Sunday night when a neighbour told him he thought he could smell burning at his flat.
Mr Morris, however, thought it was probably the smell of his cooking which the neighbour had noticed.
The bachelor and retired electrician, returned to his home.
But shortly after midnight the neighbour noticed smoke at the property and firefighters from Chirk, Llangollen and Wrexham were called just after midnight.
They searched the heavily smoke-logged flat wearing breathing apparatus and using hose reel apparatus.
The firefighters found the fire confined to a bedroom where they discovered Mr Morris.
He was carried out, but attempts by ambulance personnel to resuscitate him failed. He was later pronounced dead at the scene.
North Wales Fire Service said a faulty electric blanket was believed to be the cause of the fire.
Manageress at the Hand, Denise Davies, described Mr Morris as a lovely man and said he would be greatly missed.
“He was here that night. He was a nice man, always had his dog with him,” she said.
“He was a jolly man, he would bring us sweets every night, a lovely gent and telling jokes all the time.”
An inquest has been opened and adjourned while enquiries continue.
The fire service say the dog survived and is being cared for.
Richard Fairhead, senior fire safety manager, said: “It is very important that people with electric blankets store them correctly when they are not in use – folding the electric blankets can cause damage to the wires within the blanket.
“They should be stored flat or rolled up. Before the blankets are used after seasonal storage, they should be checked to ensure they operate correctly.”
Mr Fairhead also advised the public not to use them if they are over five years old.
“Please don’t leave an electric blanket switched on all night, unless it is thermostatically controlled and designed to be left on,” he said.
There was also no smoke detector in the property.