A 69-year-old man has died of a heart attack after a car exploded in a blaze outside his home.
The incident, which it is understood police are treating as suspicious, took place at about 8.30pm last night at Woodmuir Road, Breich, near West Calder. The victim has been named locally as Robert Weir. Firefighters were called to the property at 8.30pm where the car was “well alight” in a driveway belonging to a neighbour of Mr Weir’s.
The car exploded and it is understood Mr Weir, who lived in an upstairs property, went out to investigate, when he collapsed with a heart attack.
Firefighters used a defibrillator and performed chest compressions in an attempt to save his life, but he died at the scene.
Eleven firefighters from Whitburn and West Calder tackled the blaze. An investigation is being carried out to establish the cause of the fire.
One resident said people believed the car had been deliberately set on fire for reasons that had nothing to do with Mr Weir.
The resident, who asked not to be named, described Mr Weir as gentleman.
She said: “He has become an innocent victim. He didn’t deserve to die. He was such a nice guy, a big gentle guy.”
A spokesman for the ambulance service confirmed that they had attended a medical incident involving a 69-year-old man.
A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: “Police are investigating an incident that happened in Breich, West Calder, at around 9pm yesterday evening, where a vehicle was discovered on fire outside a property in Woodmuir Road.
“A 69-year-old man was taken to St John’s Hospital after suffering a heart attack at the scene, and subsequently died.
“Inquiries are currently at an early stage, and police are appealing to anyone who was in the area of Woodmuir Road yesterday evening, who saw any suspicious activity, to contact them on 0131-311 3131, or Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.”