Tributes as gas fumes kill pensioner who left hob on

A PENSIONER has died after being overcome by fumes when he left his gas hob on by mistake.

Bob Johnston, 84, was found dead at his bungalow on Stevenson Road, Balgreen, yesterday afternoon. The alarm was raised after he failed to turn up to a pensioners’ club.

Today, neighbours paid tribute to a “lovely” man, who lived alone and called himself the “second Duke of Edinburgh”.

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Resident John Hemmingway, 74, said: “He was a nice old guy, we spoke when I was in the garden – he would say hello. He went to a club in Stockbridge and used to get picked up in the morning.

“He hardly ever used the bus, he always walked and had a walking stick.”

The retired plasterer added: “I don’t know how long he had been lying there. I got told he had passed away by a neighbour, it’s a shame.

“The whole street was blocked off, and the fire brigade and ambulance were here.”

Another neighbour, who didn’t want to be named, told how Mr Johnston would sign his Christmas cards from the “second Duke of Edinburgh”.

“He was a lovely old man. He used to toddle up to Sainsbury’s and walk back again. I have been here for 18 years and I’ve known him all that time.”

She added: “I knew there was a gas leak and I asked a policeman if old Bob was all right.

“He said he didn’t know, but you could tell by the way he spoke that he wasn’t. I was upset when I found out, I have known him all this time.”

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Police arrived at around 1.30pm, after being alerted by Mr Johnston’s friends who were concerned when he failed to attend their regular lunch club.

Roads in the area were closed for around two and a half hours, with residents close to Mr Johnston’s home evacuated as a precaution and others within the cordon told to stay indoors. A gas engineer was also called to check the property.

Inspector Stevie Sutherland said the gas leak had been caused by a hob being left on.

He said: “Details as to how long, I don’t know at the moment, but the windows and doors have been closed and it’s obviously been enough for the gentleman to be overcome.

“He was supposed to go to a pensioners’ club today and he didn’t attend, so they were concerned when he didn’t turn up and called the police to say he hadn’t turned up and that was very unusual. We attended and smelled gas.

“There’s nothing suspicious, it’s a tragic accident.”

The area around Balgreen roundabout was cordoned off to traffic, while roads between Balgreen Road and Stevenson Road were also off limits.

A police spokesman said: “An 84-year-old man was found dead within the property during the inquiries conducted by police and the fire service. There appear to be no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death and a report will be sent to the procurator fiscal.”