Coroner’s Inquest – Brian Bicat

WYFRS has been working with our partners in the health and care sectors to raise awareness amongst
patients, carers and health professionals about the dangers associated with the regular use of paraffin-based skin products, which when soaked into fabrics and an ignition source such as a match or cigarette is introduced, can cause the fabric to catch fire and burn faster and hotter than non-contaminated fabric.

Regrettably, Brian Bicat’s death in September 2017, highlights the necessity for us to carry on delivering this fire safety message so that further tragedies may be prevented.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Dave Walton, said: “I know that I
speak for everyone at WYFRS in offering our sympathies to the family and friends of Brian Bicat.

Following Brian’s death I commissioned a project team, led by Watch Commander Chris Bell, who
attended a previous incident involving the death of Pauline Taylor in 2015, to look at the issues
surrounding the safe use of paraffin-based skin products. This has included campaigns and initiatives to raise awareness amongst the general public and health care professionals including general practitioners, district nurses and care providers.

Earlier this year, I sent two letters to encourage and remind health professionals to give verbal advice to their patients and customers. The first letter was issued to all GP practices across West Yorkshire and asked GP’s to inform their patients of the potential fire risks when prescribing products. The second letter was issued to 571 community-based pharmacists, asking them to have conversations with their customers when dispensing products.

During August, our operational crews will be visiting all pharmacists across West Yorkshire and delivering a pack of resources to support them raising awareness with their customers. The pack includes a fire hazard warning postcard for the customer which explains about the risk of fabrics becoming soaked with paraffin products during regular use.

We will continue to work raising awareness and hope, that by doing so, we can prevent any further loss of life from this cause happening again.”

For further information regarding the use of paraffin-based skin products, please visit our website here