16 Sep 2015

Heart condition may have contributed to fire death - coroner

12:41 pm on 16 September 2015

The coroner has found an existing heart condition may have prevented a man escaping from a fire during a land burnoff in North Canterbury.

Denis Hazlett, was 71, suffered burns and died of smoke inhalation in October last year, while conducting a burnoff at the Hurunui property of his friend James Cassidy.

Mr Cassidy told the coroner the 60-hectare burnoff had been planned years ahead, and a fire break was in place.

He said Mr Hazlett was given clear instructions on where to set the ground alight, and had a hand held radio for communication but when he checked on him, he had strayed from his path and become surrounded by fire.

Mr Cassidy said when he went to get help, Mr Hazlett was on fire and already dead.