Date: 14 Jun 1944
Place: Owen Street, St Helens
John Dillon was found unconscious lying in his fire-watcher's hut from gas poisoning and later died.
The police surgeon that carried out his post-mortem said that his cause of death was asphyxia through coal gas poisoning.
The coroner said, 'I am inclined to rule out the possibility that this man took his own life. The gas might have been turned on by some mischievous person. It is somewhat of a mystery. I shall return an open verdict'.
John Dillon was a single man and had lived in Owen Street in Thatto Heath and worked as a general labourer.
An engine-man at Eccleston Hill Waterworks said that he found John Dillon lying in his firewatcher's hut as usual, noting that there was an unlit gas driller there and a light from a gas fire. However, he said that later on another fire watcher told him that there was a strong smell of gas and they then found John Dillon unconscious. John Dillon was then removed to the hospital in a police ambulance.
The engine-man said that he thought that the gas must have come from another source and noted that he had never known anyone to use the gas driller.
A gas distribution superintendent said that the gas driller was three parts turned on.
see Liverpool Echo - Wednesday 14 June 1944