North East Wales

Denbigh fire station unmanned on day of fatal blaze

The house in Pen y Graig, Denbigh
Image caption Janet Jones was found by firefighters in her kitchen

A town's fire station was non-operational when a fatal fire occurred nearby, an inquest has heard.

Firefighters from Rhyl and St Asaph answered a 999 call to a flat in Tan-y-Graig, Denbigh, on 5 August.

Janet Jones, 53, died in the blaze in her first-floor flat. Firefighters found her in her kitchen but she was certified dead on arrival in hospital.

A staffing shortage had left the local Denbigh fire station unmanned that day, the inquest in Ruthin was told.

The hearing was told of the problems facing the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service in providing emergency cover across the region.

Questioned about emergency fire cover in the area, fire safety officer Kevin Roberts said a shortage of retained firefighters - fully trained people from a range of backgrounds who provide cover at fire stations - made it impossible to man all stations.

He said that although there had been a slight delay in confirming Miss Jones's address, once the St Asaph crew had been alerted, they reached Denbigh very quickly.

The full-time Rhyl crew arrived very soon after, he added.

The inquest heard how Miss Jones, a former creamery worker, had been suffering from depression and had suffering with a drink problem since 2016 when her long-term partner died.

Fire investigation officer Geraint Hughes said the source of the fire was almost certainly a heavily overloaded electrical socket in the living-room, where a four-way adaptor had another three-way adaptor connected.

"I don't want something like this to happen to anybody else. The faults are there for everybody to see," Miss Jones's brother Roger Jones said.

The cause of death was given as carbon monoxide poisoning, with alcohol and sleeping tablets as contributory factors.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner for north-east Wales John Gittins said: "We will never know whether it would have made any difference had the Denbigh station been operational."

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