Tragedy as man dies in Sunderland car blaze caused by cigarette, inquest hears

A 34-year-old man tragically died in Sunderland after lighting a cigarette causing a can of petrol to explode inside his car, an inquest has heard.

Wednesday, 17th February 2021, 4:29 pm
Police at the scene of the incident.

Shakeel Munir Mohammed died after his car set alight in Chatsworth Street, Sunderland, in the early hours of April 29, 2020.

An inquest heard that the 34-year-old, who lived in Ingleby Barwick, Stockton, died as a result of smoke inhalation and burns.

Emergency services received a call at around 3.50am to report a car had exploded in the street.

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When the fire had been extinguished it was confirmed a person was in the driver’s seat.

The inquest, which was held at Sunderland Coroner’s Court, heard the police investigation found that the carer had travelled from Teesside to the Sunderland area to meet an acquaintance.

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During his journey, Mr Mohammed had ran out of petrol and ordered a taxi to a nearby petrol station where he filled a jerry can and returned to his vehicle.

The inquest heard Mr Mohammed had ‘lit a cigarette in his vehicle and that had ignited a canister of petrol he had bought earlier in the day’.

Senior Coroner Derek Winter said: “CCTV footage was able to confirm that, in their view, there was no suspicious circumstances or third party involvement.”

Later adding: “The police have been able to rule out there was no evidence of suicidal intent on his part. It was very difficult to say if this was an accident or otherwise.”

Reporting an open conclusion, Derek Winter said: “On the balance of probability it seems to me that I can record the fact that he died on April 29, 2020, in Chadwick Street, Sunderland, having set fire to the motor vehicle he was in. It is not possible to surmise if it was an accidental or intentional consequence."

Speaking at the inquest, Mr Mohammed’s family said: “He was a much-loved son and brother. He is sorely missed and we are sad that we haven’t got the closure that we hoped for."

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