MYSTERY surrounds the death of a father who died in a house fire at a property he had previously been evicted from.

Paul Flanagan was pronounced dead at Royal Bolton Hospital two days after he was rescued from the burning house in Andrew Lane, Sharples, on the night of Tuesday, April 11.

The hearing was told the 53-year-old may not have started the blaze that killed him and that it could have begun accidentally.

The inquest heard how Mr Flanagan had previously been evicted from the property but had returned in the days leading up to his death.

In the early hours of the day of the fire he was taken to hospital after a mental health episode but was later released.

He had messaged his wife and his daughters mentioning bonfires previous to the fire starting. Fire scene investigator, John Duffin, said that due to the severity of the fire there was no evidence that it had been started deliberately and could have been an accident.

Neighbour, Timothy Riding, and his wife initially called an ambulance at around 9pm after hearing Mr Flanagan shouting for help.

At around 9.45pm they received a call from their daughter saying that she could smell burning and they then heard a loud bang down the phone. When they got home they saw the fire was ‘already out of control’.

The fire service arrived a short time later and found Mr Flanagan unconscious in the hallway and he was given CPR.

An ambulance then took him to hospital where he died two days later due to smoke inhalation.

The inquest heard that when working as a window cleaner earlier in his life Mr Flanagan had fallen from a roof and badly hurt himself. And in the 1990s Mr Flanagan was subjected to an assault which left him suffering from PTSD.

He took medication for his mental health problems and also took drugs, including cannabis.

Mr Flanagan had suffered problems with his marriage before the fire and his wife had moved out of the house before his eviction.

Coroner John Pollard, said: “It is possible, it might even be probable that Paul set fire to the house. I can’t be sure.”

He recorded an open verdict.

Speaking after the inquest, his wife, Jennifer said: “He was a fantastic husband and a fantastic dad. He was a great person and everyone loved him.”