Chef who ran acclaimed burger business died in tragic gas accident

A talented chef who ran a barbecue stall died of carbon monoxide poisoning after he loaded his propane cylinders into his van after a long day and went for a few hours sleep before his next shift.

Frank Murphy, aged 43, of Heather Lodge, Gubbeen, Co Cork was well known in West Cork for Frankie’s BadAss Burgers, the stall he had set up at Skibbereen market after he had given up his day job.

He had also begun expanding the brand, having started a new venture running the grill at the Bodega Bar and restaurant on the Coal Quay in Cork.

He was working on the busy October bank holiday weekend last year when he lost his life.

His sister, Paula Larkin, told coroner Philip Comyn at Cork Coroner’s Court that she called to see Frank at the Bodega on the morning of October 30, 2016.

She saw Frank’s van and noticed that he was lying on the floor of the van. He was found to be unresponsive.

James Kelleher, a carpenter who was doing maintenance work at the Bodega, said he got a hammer and broke the window of the van. Froth was coming from Mr Murphy’s mouth.

Two gardaí arrived and Frank was brought out of the van and on to the ground.

Paramedics who attended at the scene tried to revive the chef. However, their efforts failed and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Murphy’s wife, Julia, said he had finished work on the stall at about 4am on the day he died.

His habit was to sleep in the van for about three hours before starting work again. The inquest heard that he had a strong work ethic.

Scenes of crime investigator, Garda James O’Sullivan, carried out an examination of the van after the sudden passing of the chef. He found that the exhaust system was working properly and that it was not a cause of concern.

Coroner Philip Comyn said there was a possibility that gas might have escaped from the propane cylinders which Mr Murphy loaded in to his van after his day of work. He ruled out the possibility of the van causing his death: “It is clear that the source of the carbon monoxide was not the van itself.”

Assistant state pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster, said Mr Murphy died from carbon monoxide poisoning. She said the source of the gas had not been clarified. A verdict of accidental death was recorded in the case.

Tragically, the Murphy family suffered a double tragedy as they had lost their mother just days before Frank’s passing.


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