Fire that killed frail OAP ‘caused by electrical fault’

11:00am Thursday 10th January 2013

By Jane Reader

A BLAZE which killed a frail 80-year-old Christ-church woman was probably caused by an electrical fault, an inquest heard.

Marie-Noelle Holliday suffered 30 per cent burns and died of shock following the tragedy at her home in Avon Buildings, off Bargates, in August last year, District Coroner Sheriff Payne was told.

The Bournemouth inquest heard Mrs Holliday’s next door neighbour, Jeanne Cummins, had visited her just an hour before the fire was discovered at 8pm.

Mrs Cummins said her neighbour, known as Mimi, told her she was going to have a meal and that nothing was out of the ordinary in her house.

Fire investigator David Myers, a Dorset Fire and Rescue District Commander, told the coroner he believes one of a number of electrical appliances in the kitchen was the cause of the blaze.

He said it was possible that Mrs Holliday became aware of the fire while she was in the lounge and was overcome by smoke or flames when she went to investigate.

Mrs Holliday had lived in the two-storey terraced property since the 1970s and was supported by friends and neighbours, the inquest was told.

Her son Jean-Michel works as a school teacher in Shropshire but lived with his mother during school holidays.

After the inquest he told the Daily Echo his mother moved to London from France to study English as a young woman and decided to stay in England.

He said: “She was a wonderful mother who I will miss very much. I was working and coming and going a lot – there is no way you can expect something like that to happen.”

He added: “I would also like to thank neighbours who were a great help to her – Avon Buildings is a real community.”

Mr Payne recorded a verdict of accidental death.

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