A TAXI driver who died after a fire at his Gwynedd home started by a discarded cigarette might have survived if he had a smoke alarm, a coroner said on Tuesday afternoon,

Michael Beeby, 57, died at the Royal Stoke University Hospital in Stoke on Trent after inhaling smoke from the blaze at his home in Erw Las, Bethesda, last June.

Coroner Dewi Pritchard Jones at Caernarfon recorded a conclusion of an accident.

Geraint Bowen Hughes of North Wales fire service said Mr Beeby had been in an armchair at some stage.

“The most probable cause was a carelessly discarded cigarette that had fallen in a bag of combustible material which caught fire and spread to the sofa.”

He said two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus dealt with the living room blaze and searched the property with a thermal imaging camera. Mr Beeby was on the floor in a bedroom.

“He may not have realised what had happened and gone to bed,” the fire investigator said. There was no smoke alarm.

Mr Pritchard Jones said :”The lesson is everybody should have smoke detectors in their house because Mr Beeby may have survived if there was one.”

The coroner said the cigarette had probably smouldered for some time. Smoke had been spotted and smelled.