‘Unattended coal fire’ likely cause of fatal house fire in Ramsey - inquest told

Fire at Star Lane, Ramsey,

Fire at Star Lane, Ramsey, - Credit: Archant

An inquest has been opened into the death of an 83-year-old woman, who died in a house fire in Ramsey.

Fire at Star Lane, Ramsey,

Fire at Star Lane, Ramsey, - Credit: Archant

Berenice Setchell was discovered by firefighters at a property in Star Lane on January 19 after they had been called to the scene by neighbours who were concerned for her safety.

On Wednesday (January 27), the senior coroner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, David Heming, opened an inquest into the death at Lawrence Court, in Huntingdon.

Mr Morris told the hearing that a post mortem had determined that Mrs Setchell died from smoke inhalation and underlying heart disease.

He said: “There will be an extensive investigation undertaken by fire service investigators regarding the circumstances of the fire at the property.

“It is understood, at this stage, that the fire is believed to have been caused by an unattended coal fire in the lounge. I express my condolences to all members of the family.”

The hearing was adjourned pending further investigation and is expected to re-open again on April 28.

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Speaking to the Hunts Post in the aftermath of the incident, Mark Norman, a neighbour of Mrs Setchell, told how he smashed a window as he fought desperately to reach her.

Mr Norman, of Star Lane, Ramsey, tried in vain to enter the house, using a brick to smash a downstairs window, but was overwhelmed by smoke and forced back.

He told the Hunts Post: “It was somewhere around 6.25am when my sister told me about the fire,” said Mr Norman. “Fire was coming from the down stairs and the flames were strong.

“I tried to get through the back but couldn’t manage to. I came round the front and threw a brick through the window to get into the house but the heat and the flames were too much.”

Mr Norman added: “The fire service were then here within minutes and were brilliant. It is really sad news as the woman and her husband were really good people.”