Inquest hears Lincoln teen died in fire after using hairspray on 3D printer

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A coroner has issued a warning after 17-year-old Lincoln boy died in a fire after using hairspray on a 3D printer.

Sixth form pupil Tom Taylor used hairspray to stick a piece of college work to the hot plate of the printer after watching the technique online, an inquest heard.

An electric spark from either a nearby socket or the hot plate caused the hairspray gases which had built up over several hours to combust and then ignite highly flammable flash papers which his family stored underneath the desk.

Tom tried to walk out of the back office which his family called the “smoke room” but he inhaled fumes and collapsed on top of a door. He died from smoke inhalation.

An inquest heard Tom’s mother, Helen Taylor, heard the “loud bang” but his step-father Max Clark was unable to enter the room after being confronted by a wall of flames. Attempts to smash a window also failed.

Tom’s body was recovered from the converted Co-op store where his family lived and also ran an online magic business called “MagicNevin.”

Ten fire engines battled the inferno which broke out in De Wint Avenue, Lincoln, at around 4.25pm on December 21.

The blaze on De Wint Avenue in Lincoln. Photo: Jordan Challis

The blaze on De Wint Avenue in Lincoln. Photo: Jordan Challis

Eye-witnesses described it as a “great big ball of flame” which could be seen from miles around.

Tom lived at the property with his twin brother Jack, mum Helen, 46, and step-dad Max Clark, 49.

An inquest at Lincoln Cathedral Centre heard flash papers commonly used by magicians had been stored underneath the desk where Tom was working.

Fire Investigator Ian Woods told the inquest: “We believe Tom used hairspray on a 3D printer after watching a video online.

“This is an extremely unsafe practice which I advise against wholeheartedly.”

Stuart Fisher, the senior coroner for Lincolnshire, recorded a verdict of accidental death and asked for lessons to be learned from Tom’s “tragic death.”

The coroner said: “It appears Tom’s use of hairspray on a 3D printer in a small office resulted in a significant build up of propane.

“Unfortunately either an electric spark or the hot plate of the 3D printer ignited the propane and caused a flash of super heated gases.

“The initial ignition then ignited flash paper which was stored in very close proximity to the 3D printer.

“The result was a devastating fire in which Tom tragically lost his life.”

In a statement released after Tom’s death, his mother Helen, step-dad Max and twin Jack said they were overwhelmed by the community’s support.

Tom Taylor was described as a talented, caring and fun young man.

Tom Taylor was described as a talented, caring and fun young man.

“Tom was just such an amazing, kind, generous, humorous young man,” the family said.

“He was such fun and was happiest when he was making others happy, and he always succeeded in doing that. He was constantly upbeat, cheerful and happy.”

The family thanked the community for its support since the tragedy and on the night.

“Even before emergency services could arrive a number of people risked their own lives by running back into the building as it was on fire to try and help and were trying to see if we were alright,” they said.

Tom, who wore a hearing aid in his right ear, was a keen saxophonist, a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and was hoping for a career as a chiropractor.

The family said: “We are so incredibly proud of Tom and so acutely aware of the wonderful, modest young man we were blessed to have in our lives.

“He touched so many people, more than we ever realised, and had the best qualities that we all wish we could possess.”

More than £10,000 has been raised in his memory.