North West Wales

Llanrwst fatal fire: Dryer damage 'not consistent with fault'

Doug McTavish and Bernard Hender
Image caption Doug McTavish and Bernard Hender died in the fire at the flat in Llanrwst

A tumble dryer implicated in a fire that killed two men in Conwy county was not the cause of the blaze, an expert has told an inquest.

Bernard Hender, 19, and Doug McTavish, 39, died in the blaze in Llanrwst, in October 2014.

US fire investigator John Loud told the hearing a fault with a light fitting, switch or electric iron could have been responsible for the fire.

The inquest, in Ruthin, continues.

Giving evidence alongside fellow American Dr Delmar Morrison, with whom he produced two reports into the fire, Mr Loud said he would have expected to find corresponding damage to two contact points if electrical arcing in the machine triggered the fire.

He said damage to the dryer was "consistent with evidence of fire attack and not electrical arcing".

Mr Loud also described the chance of a fire beginning in a non-running dryer was a "remote, obscure, theoretical" possibility.

He said damage to the light fitting, switch and iron could be a sign either that they were damaged in the fire or were the site at which the fire began.

He added that arcing damage found in the overhead light fitting would not have occurred if the fire began in the dryer because that would have tripped the power and prevented such damage occurring in the light.

Other witnesses have told the coroner a faulty door switch could have caused arcing that then set the tumble dryer on fire.

But Mr Loud said photos suggest the dryer's timer was in the off position at the time of the fire, so no power would have been present capable of triggering a fire in the dryer.

"You need to have heating and that only occurs when you have current," he said.

Dr Morrison said earlier he could not rule out the possibility of a spontaneous fire beginning in a pile of towels which were outside the dryer.

He and Mr Loud both told the coroner it was not possible to establish for certain what caused the fatal fire.

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