A THREE-YEAR-OLD boy died in a fire he started using a novelty gun lighter, an inquest was told.
Little Joseph Forster had been warned not to play with the small gun-shaped lighter that had two powerful flames.
But while his dad was asleep the youngster climbed out of bed and accidentally started a blaze in the lounge of the flat on The Crescent in Ravensthorpe.
The fire quickly took hold and by the time Joseph's dad Mark Finnemore woke up and tried to find the keys to the front door to get out the fire was too fierce and he was beaten back by the smoke.
Mr Finnemore told the hearing in Bradford that he panicked and took Joseph into the back bedroom where they were both overcome by smoke.
By the time fire crews arrived on the scene they were unconscious.
Tragically, Joseph had already died from smoke inhalation and Mark was rushed to hospital where he was in intensive care for several days.
Coroner Roger Whittaker was told that the council-owned flat had been fitted with a smoke alarm, but that Mr Finnemore had taken it down because he kept going off when he was cooking.
Mr Whittaker said that if the alarm had been in place Joseph's life could have been saved.
Urging all householders to have an escape plan in the event of a fire and to keep keys close to the door, Mr Whittaker added: "It must have been a horrifying situation and I can well understand why Mark panicked, but it's a lesson to all that one tries to avoid these situations by firstly planning a means of escape from fire.
"It's vital to plan the routes and that although you must be security conscious in my view there's more important issues than security and that's preservation of life."
The inquest was told that Joseph lived with his mother Julie Forster through the week at her house on Lonsdale Avenue, Batley, but would stay with his dad at the weekends.
On May 28 this year Mr Finnemore had gone out for the evening leaving his son with babysitter Rachael Carter.
Miss Carter told Mr Whittaker that she had seen Joseph playing with the gimmick lighter but had taken it off him.
She had put it out of his reach but it had been put back on the lounge table later that night.
Fire investigator Melvin Holmes told the hearing that the lighter must have been used to start the fire.
Police Sergeant Paul Greenhough was first on the scene of the blaze after he had been passing and seen wisps of smoke coming from the flat.
He broke down the door and tried to search for people inside but was beaten back by the smoke and heat.
He said: "I have never seen anything like it. I was absolutely amazed. The heat was extraordinary."
Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Whittaker said: "I accept that little boys will be little boys and sometimes do things they shouldn't despite the best training of their parents.
"I'm satisfied that Joseph was capable of operating this (the lighter). I believe that's how the fire started."