Inquest rules smoking materials caused Notts house fire which killed 92-year-old woman

A house fire in Gotham which killed a 92-year-old woman was caused by smoking materials, an inquest heard.

A court heard on Monday, 9th January that Joan Kemp, who was named by local residents on October 17, died of multiple injuries following the fire in her home on Kegworth Road in Gotham.

Assistant Coroner Miss Amanda Cranny returned a narrative conclusion after hearing evidence that Mrs Kemp had smoked cigarettes on the day of the fire.

Fire crews were called to the semi-detached house on Kegworth Road on Friday, 14th October.

Efforts had been made by neighbours to rescue Mrs Kemp before firefighters arrived and forced entry through the back of the house, which was engulfed in what was described as a ‘very intense fire.’

Flowers paying tribute were left outside the house.

Flowers paying tribute were left outside the house.

Giving her narrative conclusion, Miss Cranny said: “Mrs Joan Gladys Kemp died on October 14 2016 as a result of injuries sustained from a fire at her home, the likely cause of which was the ignition of a recliner chair by smoking materials used by Mrs Kemp.

“I would like to express my condolences to the family of Mrs Kemp; this was a tragic case in which a much loved family member and member of her local community lost her life in the home that she had lived in for over 60 years.

“She was fortunate enough to have a loving family who lived close by and picked her up every night to join them for an evening meal and many people turned out to help in whatever way they could by trying to gain access to the property, which should be of comfort to the family and it is nice to see a community working so closely in that way.

“You can’t live in the same area for 60 years without being one of the great characters of that community and that is what Mrs Kemp was to those around her.”

A charred door was left on the front lawn outside the house.

A charred door was left on the front lawn outside the house.

The court heard evidence from Station Manager Tom Clark, from Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Fire Investigation Team, who said the seat of the fire was a recliner chair in the living room.

He said: “On behalf of Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, I would like to express our condolences to Mrs Kemp’s family and friends.

“This incident was tragic for all involved, and while we know that Mrs Kemp had had a home safety check, we would like to reinforce the importance of everyone assessing personal safety in the home.

“If you have elderly or vulnerable family members, we ask that you assess whether they have working smoke alarms and an escape plan, should their property be affected by fire.

“When visiting relatives, it is a good idea to test their smoke alarms for them, which we would advise doing every week.

“We would like to urge everyone to be careful with smoking materials, especially when smoking in the home; make sure that you dispose of cigarettes safely and keep matches and lighters in a safe place away from children.”