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Smoke alarm could have saved elderly woman

A verdict of accidental death has been recorded on a Douglas woman who died in a house fire.

Ninety-two-year-old Elizabeth Ena Thorn was discovered by her grandson in the back room of her home in Westmoreland Road, on Good Friday this year.

A post mortem showed the cause of death was asphyxiation as a result of inhaling smoke.

A fire officer concluded the smoke had come from some combustible items, most likely crumpled up newspapers, coming into contact with a bar of an electric fire.

Inquiries showed no smoke alarm was fitted in the house, and it was stated that if there had been one it could have made a difference.

The officer said he believed every house in the Island should have one to alert individuals, passers-by or, in this case, as Mrs Thorn lived in the house alone, a neighbour.

The comments were echoed by coroner Alistair Montgomerie who warned of the risk of fires, especially in the winter months.

It was also stressed that newspapers should be kept away from all types of fires, as deadly smoke could trap people very quickly.

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