Fire officer tells inquest cigarette caused tragic blaze

Reporter:

Staff reporter

A DISCARDED cigarette is believed to have caused a house fire in which a mother-of-two died, an inquest has heard.

Wendy Diane Tranter, 54, was found dead at her smoke-filled home on Llys Derwen, Mold, on the afternoon of November 18 last year.

The inquest yesterday was told a neighbour heard a bleeping coming from Ms Tranter’s home the night before she was found, but she wrongly believed it was the sound of an electricity meter having run out rather than the smoke alarm.

Giving evidence, son Mark recalled arriving at the house he shared with Ms Tranter and finding the family dog had been sick, which was unusual.

“I ran towards upstairs,” he said. “The walls seemed black.

“As you got halfway up you could not see anything.

“It was all smoke.”

After being unable to find his mother, Mr Tranter ran outside and dialled 999 and ignored advice not to go back in as he searched desperately for her.

He said he had gone to check in her bedroom, but could not see anything as the smoke was too thick.

Emergency services rushed to the scene and found Ms Tranter’s body lying at the top of the stairs.

Mr Tranter told the inquest the amount his mother drank was an issue, but there could also be spells when she would abstain.

He said there had been a previous occasion when he had returned home to find smoke filling the building and his mother drinking alcohol inside.

Medical records showed Ms Tranter had a history of binge drinking which she had attempted to receive help for.

Written evidence from neighbour Lynne Hughes was read, recalling how she heard a constant bleeping noise the night before Ms Tranter was found.

Mrs Hughes said she believed the sound was that of the electricity meter expiring and thought the Tranters were out and would return home to find they had run out of electricity.

Bob Mason, a fire officer with North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said the origin of the fire appeared to be between the bed and bedside cabinet in Ms Tranter’s room.

He said: “I would conclude the fire was started by a carelessly discarded cigarette or a cigarette dropped due to the smoker’s incapacity.”

Post-mortem results found Ms Tranter to be significantly above the legal driving limit for alcohol, while her blood was heavily saturated with carbon monoxide.

Assistant deputy North East Wales coroner Kirit Champaneria recorded a verdict of accidental death caused by carbon monoxide poisoning following a fire.

Mr Champaneria stressed that no one should be blamed for Ms Tranter’s death.

See full story in the Leader

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on

Characters left: 1500

Most Read