Fire: Crew discovered the blaze was out by the time they reached the house. Pic: © STV
An elderly man who died in a blaze in his Western Isles home was due to get help at home because it was feared he would accidentally start a fire.
Kenneth MacKenzie, 83, was found dead after a fire in the front room of his cottage at Strond Road in Leverburgh on Sunday.
The fire was already out when firemen arrived at the house and found his body at around 2.20pm.
It is believed that the retired heavy plant operator suffered from dementia and habitually used flaming strips of paper to light cigarettes.
Fire crew found a fire covering one and a half square metres in Mr MacKenzie’s living room.
Concerns had been raised shortly before his death that Mr MacKenzie did not have home help and seemed unable to care for himself.
It is understood that the elderly man, who did not have relatives living nearby, was fiercely independent and had refused care support in the past.
A local resident said: “I alerted social services that Kenny was in danger.
“I found Kenny to be confused, in a poor state of health and he didn’t know me at all, or remember any of his neighbours.
“I was very distressed to find him like this. I spent all the next day contacting social services and Care in the Community and told them I was afraid that Kenny was in danger and would burn himself to death on the fire.
“I cannot believe that this was his end. I alerted so many people that this was going to happen to him.
“Eventually however, I was told that someone would be assessing Kenny the following week.”
The woman says she asked the local authority to act “right away” because she believed he was in immediate danger of causing himself harm.
A Western Isles Council spokesman said: “Social work were aware of this case. An assessment had been carried out and a home care package was due to start this week.”