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Accidental fire the cause of Beeston woman’s death

Posted on 22 April 2022

The death of Anne Shelbourn, 64, was ruled as accidental, caused by smoke inhalation following an inquest.

On 30 July 2021 Joint Fire Control received a call from a neighbour at 12:48pm reporting thick smoke from the property on Waterloo Road in Beeston.

Highfields Fire Station arrived within four minutes of the call and committed two firefighters in breathing apparatus (BA) to enter the property. They were joined shortly after by fire crews from West Bridgford and Long Eaton fire stations.

Upon entering the property firefighters discovered the living room was heavily involved in smoke, with a small fire on the sofa and where they discovered Ms Shelbourn. She was pronounced dead at the scene by East Midlands Ambulance Service.

A post-mortem examination revealed that Ms Shelbourn had high levels of alcohol in her system which is likely to have affected her ability to leave, despite the smoke alarm sounding.

Assistant Coroner for Nottinghamshire, Fiona Gingell, found the cause of death to be smoke inhalation caused by an accidental fire on the sofa from discarded smoking materials.

Station Manager Richard Cooper said: “We would like to again extend our condolences to Anne’s family and friends on their loss.

“We would like to praise the actions of Anne’s neighbour who raised the alarm and two contractors nearby who attempted to gain entry to the property before firefighters arrived.

“This tragic incident is a reminder of the importance of having working smoke alarms in your home and checking them regularly as they can help alert you to smoke or fire. If you smoke, consider doing this outside your home and avoid smoking when you are under the influence of alcohol. Always make sure it is stubbed out when you’re finished.”

If you or someone you know is not able to assess the fire risks in the home, you can find out about a free Safe and Well visit.