Inquest opened into death of Somersham couple killed in house fire

House fire, Queens Road, Somersham,

House fire, Queens Road, Somersham, - Credit: Archant

An inquest has been opened into the death of an elderly couple, who died in a house fire in Somersham.

Roger, 67, and Maureen Freestone, 65, were discovered by firefighters at a property in Queens Road on Bank Holiday Monday (March 28) after they had been called to reports that the house was ablaze.

Today (March 31), the senior coroner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, David Heming, opened an inquest into the deaths at Lawrence Court, in Huntingdon.

Mr Heming told the hearing that post mortems had determined that Mr and Mrs Freestone had died from smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning.

He said: “There is much evidence to be investigated regarding this tragic incident in particular a very detailed and thorough investigation report which will shed light on the circumstances of these two deaths.”

The inquest also heard that an underlying heart disease was a factor in Mrs Freestone’s death.

Mr Heming expressed his condolences to the couple’s family members.

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The hearing was adjourned pending final reports and is expected to re-open again on September 29.

Speaking to The Hunts Post in the aftermath of the incident, neighbours of couple describe how explosions were witnessed following the outbreak of the fire.

One neighbour said: “We were sat inside but could smell smoke coming through our vent, we weren’t sure where it was coming from. That’s when we went outside and saw the smoke coming over the trees then there was one boom after another.”

A spokesman from the East of Ambulance Service said that following the incident that two other people were taken to Hinchingbrooke Hospital, in Huntingdon, for treatment to “superficial burns”.

According to neighbours the two people taken to hospital had smashed a window to escape the blaze.

Cambridgeshire police confirmed to The Hunts Post that the incident is “not being treated as suspicious”.

A fire service investigation into the incident determined that cause of blaze is believed to be accidental.

Station commander Carl Pardon said: “The fire developed rapidly and smoke quickly spread throughout the property. The crews did very well to contain the fire and prevent it from spreading further.

“Due to the severity of the fire, it has been difficult to pinpoint the exact cause, but the fire is not being treated as suspicious.”

A date has been set for the funeral of Mr and Mrs Freestone at Fenland crematorium in March on April 14 at 1.30pm.

The family have asked for donations to be made in memory of the couple to the Stroke Association and the Royal British Legion made at the service or sent to Co-operative Funeralcare incorporating J.H. Landin funeral service, 72 High Street, Chatteris, PE16 6NN.