THE sister of a man killed in a house fire has made a tearful plea for people to install smoke alarms in the hope of preventing further tragedies.

Father-of-two Alan Andrew Peacock was pronounced dead by paramedics outside his home in Gladstone Gardens in Consett, County Durham, on November 30.

Firefighters had rescued the 41-year-old from the burning building, but it was too late to save him.

Speaking after an inquest at Crook Coroners Court today (Tuesday, April 30), Mr Peacock’s younger sister, Julie Forster, 40, urged people to install and test their smoke alarms.

“I want to encourage everybody to have a smoke detector,” she said, fighting back tears. “It is so important.

“Alan was my only brother and we were very close. He was bubbly and liked by everyone.

“His passion was his family and his children, Andrew and Sherylee.”

Mrs Forster said her brother had bought a smoke alarm for the property he shared with his mother, Margaret, but had not yet fitted it.

“We would like to thank the firefighters for everything they did and also the neighbours who tried to get Alan out,” she added.

Three fire crews attended the blaze at around 6.30am, following reports of smoke pouring from the property.

Fire investigator Lee Aspery, of County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, told the inquest the fire was most likely caused by a faulty fan heater, which had been left on full blast overnight.

He said the living room had been full of piles of papers and other flammable material, meaning the flames quickly spread.

Mrs Peacock, who left for work before the fire broke out, said her son had turned the heater on the previous night as she had been feeling cold and unwell.

Firefighters found Mr Peacock, who was unemployed at the time, unconscious in his upstairs bedroom.

Pathologist Chandrakant Patel said he had been killed by carbon-monoxide poisoning caused by smoke inhalation.

“He suffered burns of a superficial nature, but this would have had no bearing on the cause of death,” he added.

Mr Patel said it was likely Mr Peacock would have fallen unconscious quickly and may not have known what was happening.

County Durham Coroner Andrew Tweddle recorded a verdict of accidental death.

To arrange a home fire safety visit, which includes fitting a free smoke alarm, contact 0191-332-4222 or visit