Fatal Stourbridge flat fire was caused by a cigarette, inquest hears

A STOURBRIDGE woman died in a fire caused by a cigarette, an inquest heard.

Maureen Shepherd, aged 63, had suffered extensive burns when she was found by firefighters who tackled the blaze in her tenth floor flat at Baylie Court, Green Street, on March 22.

The retired jewellrey polisher, who was unable to move her lower limbs due to MS, had fell asleep with a cigarette and set fire to her bedding, Smethwick Coroners Court was told.

Black Country Coroner Robin Balmain said firefighters discovered Mrs Shepherd in the living area of her flat at 10.14am and pulled her out onto the landing but minutes later she was prounounced dead.

Mr Balmain said: “The first crew that attended found evidence to suggest at some stage she became aware of the situation and tried to move away from the fire but was restricted by her medical condition.”

A postmortem ruled out carbon monoxide poisoning and found burns caused Mrs Shepherd’s death.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Balmain: “This was a tragic accident. She didn’t want to give up cigarettes, they were one of the few pleasures she had. She set fire to the bedding and wasn’t able to rescue herself because of her illness.

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