Fatal Carlisle house fire 'caused by cigarette'

An inquest has found that a fatal house fire in Carlisle was probably started by a dropped cigarette.

Annette Radcliffe Browning, 56, suffered fatal injuries in the blaze at her house in Grasmere Street on 28 August 2011.

She was rescued by fire crews but was later pronounced dead.

Coroner David Roberts recorded a verdict of accidental death. Relatives of Mrs Browning attended the hearing.

Alarm removed

The fire brigade was called at around 17:00 BST on the day of the fire after neighbours spotted black smoke coming from the house.

Mr Roberts said it was likely that Mrs Browning had either dropped a lit cigarette onto a flammable surface, or that a cigarette which had not been properly extinguished had ignited in the ashtray.

Although there was a working fire alarm at the top of the stairs, the alarm from the hall had been removed for redecoration work.

Mr Roberts said it would probably not have made a difference if there had been a functioning fire alarm closer to the origin of the fire.

He stressed the importance of ensuring smoke alarms are in working order.

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