Faulty TV could have caused fatal fire

Reporter:

Helen davies

AN ELECTRICAL fault could have caused a house fire which killed a mother-of-two, an inquest heard.

Kirsty Weaver, 31, died after a fire at her home at Fraser Drive in Buckley. Her two-year-old son Brandon was pulled from the house by firefighters.

A verdict of accidental death was returned by coroner John Gittins at an inquest in Wrexham yesterday.

The hearing was told the most likely cause of the fire was an electrical fault in Miss Weaver’s television which had been damaged just over a week before.

Her brother Craig Weaver, from Mancot, said on the night of the fire he had been woken by his mother-in-law telling him he needed to get to Miss Weaver’s house.

His phone had been on silent and he had missed calls and answer phone messages, one from Miss Weaver, asking for help.

Stephanie Williams, who lives on the same road as Miss Weaver and was her cousin and friend, told the hearing they had both been to the Nant Inn on the evening of the fire but were home by about 8.30pm.

Brandon had returned home but Miss Weaver’s daughter Toni, 11, had gone to stay with friends.

She said Miss Weaver liked candles and had them in the lounge. She also smoked but would no do it in the house if her children were there.

A statement from Colin Smith, Miss Weaver’s neighbour, was read to the inquest.

His front room backed onto Miss Weaver’s front room and while he was watching television he heard a loud, sharp crackle and then heard Miss Weaver's voice shouting “save me” and “help me”.

“She shouted this four or five times,” he said.

He walked next door but found the house in complete darkness so he assumed everyone had gone to bed and went back inside.

His daughter Christine then said she had also heard the shouting so Mr Smith called the police.

When the police arrived they noticed Miss Weaver’s front door was hot so they called the fire service and attempted to force entry into the house but could not get in.

Mike O’Mara from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service carried out a fire investigation and told the hearing the house had no working smoke detectors, but there was one on a window sill which had no batteries in it.

Miss Weaver was found by firefighters on the floor in the lounge. Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene.

Mr O’Mara added Mr Smith heard the noise and shouts at Miss Weaver’s house about 1.30am and called the police about 2.30am.

He said: “What we encourage people generally is if they have any reason to suspect what might be a fire, the earlier they call us the better. I think on this occasion perhaps Mr Smith hasn’t realised there might be a fire.”

Mr O’Mara added: “Having looked at the pattern of the fire damage and where the fire occurred I consider that wasn’t consistent with it being caused by a candle.

“The most likely cause was irregular electrical activity in the TV set located in the ground floor lounge.”

Mr O’Mara said he would urge residents to make use of the free home safety checks offered by the fire service and advised anyone with damaged electrical appliances to get them checked.

A post-mortem examination revealed Miss Weaver died as a result of smoke inhalation.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Gittins said the death was due to “a catalogue of apparently minor circumstances which together had tragic consequences”.

For a free home safety check by the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service as well as advice and smoke alarms, call freephone 0800 1691234.

See full story in the Leader

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