Hemsby fatal fire started by hot embers, inquest hears

Image caption,
A police cordon was put in place at Ormesby Glebe, Hemsby

An 82-year-old woman died in a severe blaze after hot embers from an open fire in her bedroom set her bed linen alight, an inquest has concluded.

Mary Seagrave died in her timber-framed house in Ormesby Glebe, Hemsby, Norfolk, on the evening of 4 March.

An inquest in Norwich heard she had to be identified using her DNA.

Area coroner Yvonne Blake said she was not able to say whether Mrs Seagrave was "overcome by smoke or had a medical episode preventing her escape".

Image caption,
Emergency services were called to the scene of the fire at about 19:20 GMT on Sunday 4 March

Station manager John Baker, of Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said the roof gave way shortly after firefighters arrived and Mrs Seagrave's remains were found under debris in the bedroom.

In a statement read to the inquest, Mr Baker said: "The bedroom was totally destroyed... The open fire is most likely the source of ignition of the fire."

The fire guard was normally used by Mrs Seagrave, the hearing was told, but fire investigators found it placed to the left of the hearth, said Mr Baker.

He said there no evidence the fire had been started deliberately.

The inquest was told that Mrs Seagrave was "very sprightly" for a women in her 80s and had two sons and two daughters who kept in regular contact with her.

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