Heater Link to Aberdare Fire Death of Emily Harris

30-01-2014

    A fire which killed an 18-year-old girl while she was house-sitting for her grandparents may have been caused by an electric heater, an inquest has heard.

    Emily Harris, 18, died at her grandparents' house in Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taf as she looked after their pets while they were on holiday.

    Investigators believed clothing was left too close to the heater as she slept.

    An inquest into Miss Harris's death in Aberdare heard she had spent the night of 17 October, 2013 with friends at pubs in the town and returned home alone at midnight.

    Her friend Gabriella Davies told the hearing Miss Harris was "not falling down drunk and was just a bit tipsy".

    Seven hours later neighbours saw flames rising from the first floor of the detached house.

    Fire-fighters spent two hours tackling the blaze and part of the house later collapsed.

    Following the fire, assistant chief fire officer Andy Thomas said crews had been faced with a "difficult" rescue attempt.

    "Despite the tremendous efforts of the fire crews, the severity of the fire and the partial collapse of the building meant crews were faced with a very difficult incident,”

    According to the fire service, the incident was reported at 7.38am, and by 8.05am the roof space had collapsed into the property.

    Miss Harris's death was caused by smoke inhalation and burns, the hearing was told.

    Fire investigator Andrew Sergeant said the fire was likely to have been caused by one or more of the electric heaters being placed too close to clothing, or because clothing fell on one of the fires.

    Coroner Andrew Barkley said: "It is highly probably that the fire started in the bedroom where Emily was found, either by an electric fire or halogen heater coming too close to something."

    Coroner Andrew Barkley recorded a verdict of accidental death.

            
Collated by Philip Turnbull

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