Woman died after electrical fault on extension lead

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An 84-year-old woman died in a fire caused by an electrical fault in her bedroom, an inquest has heard.

The blaze at the home of Bridget Burgess in Clare on the morning of February 17, was so fierce that the bedroom floor gave way and collapsed into the dining room below.

An inquest on Monday at Bury St Edmunds heard how firefighters had to break open the front door to get inside the detached property in Nethergate Street.

Fire crews found the body of Mrs Burgess who, a post mortem examination later concluded, had died from smoke inhalation and burns.

Mrs Burgess, a widow, had lived alone at the house the inquest heard.

The inside of the property had to be shored up before fire investigators could start work because of the dangerous state it had been left in by the fire.

Ken Williamson, from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, who investigated the fire said five crews had been sent to the scene of the outbreak which caused extensive damage.

Beneath the remains of the bed was found two electrical extension leads which had been used for two electric blankets, two table lamps, a cordless phone charger and a radio, said Mr Williamson.

Examination of the extension leads indicated that one had suffered a fault and probably overheated beneath the edge of the bed where it had been covered by bed clothes.

Mr Williamson said the most likely cause of the fire had been the overheating of one of the four-way extension leads which ignited the bedding and caused extensive damage.

Assistant Suffolk Coroner Dr Daniel Sharpstone recorded a conclusion of accidental death as a result of an electrical fault.