A “SELFLESS” and “caring” engineer died in his beloved vintage car in the garage of his Wimborne home, an inquest heard.
On December 10 last year firefighters discovered the body of Philip Simmons in the driver’s seat of his treasured 1937 Austin 7 after neighbours reported seeing flames and hearing explosions coming from the garage in Lonnen Road, Colehill.
On Wednesday, Bourne-mouth Coroner Sheriff Payne heard that Mr Simmons had argued with his wife Patricia three days prior to his death after his father had made a comment about her “wispy” hair.
Following the row Mrs Simmons had gone to stay with their daughter.
The 59-year-old father-of-two had pleaded with her to come back to him during a telephone conversation just hours before his body was found, the coroner’s court heard.
Pathologist Dr Kudair Hussein recorded the cause of Mr Simmons’ death as carbon monoxide poisoning. Toxicology reports showed there were no drugs or alcohol in his system.
Mr Simmons’ neighbour Peter Constable told the inquest he had heard a “high pitched” revving sound coming from the garage shortly before he saw the building was on fire.
Fire safety manager Stuart Granger said he believed the fire had been caused by a protective dust cover sheet coming into contact with the exhaust pipe of the car.
He told the hearing: “Regrettably, I am unable to explain why Mr Simmons was unable to flee the scene of the fire. An able person would have been aware of the fire developing.”
Recording an open verdict, Mr Payne said the exact circumstances of Mr Simmons’ death remained unclear.
He said: “I cannot be sure he intended to end his own life although he had had this spat with his wife.
“However, I cannot be sure that this was a pure accident.”
The inquest heard Mr Simmons bought his treasured car 18 years ago and regularly attended classic car rallies.
In a statement read out to the inquest, Mrs Simmons paid tribute to her husband. She described him as “a caring family man.”
She said: “He was a selfless and lovely man. He would help people out at any time.”