Years of exposure to asbestos culminated in a man’s death in Surrey, an inquest was told. Former firefighter Douglas Garnham died in a hospice on January 16 this year.

The death of the 56-year-old was as a result of an industrial disease, concluded Surrey assistant coroner Dr Karin Englehart.

Speaking at Woking Coroner’s Court, she said: “Mr Garnham was known to have had occupational exposure to asbestos.

“In 2012 he developed mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer. He died in the Princess Alice Hospice after his health had deteriorated.”

In a High Court writ, his barrister Simon Kilvington said: “During his initial training and on refresher training, Mr Garnham would have to crawl into confined and hot spaces, often the ducts under hospital boiler houses, containing pipes lagged with asbestos.

“Once the exercise was over, he would knock off the asbestos dust and fibres from his fire kit, breathing in the clouds of asbestos dust and fibre.”

Through these training courses Mr Garnham would have come into direct contact with asbestos fibres. Once inhaled the fibres are permanently lodged in the lungs, causing numerous health problems including asbestosis and deadly mesothelioma.

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