Mum And Two Children Die In House Fire Started By Electrical Fault

12 June 2019, 15:11 | Updated: 12 June 2019, 15:39

A mother and her two children were killed in a house fire which was "likely" to have been started by an electrical fault, an inquest heard

Justine Collison, 32, died from smoke inhalation after a blaze which also claimed the lives of her eight-year-old daughter Isabella and five-year-old son Harvey on December 15 last year.

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service were unable to establish the precise "seat" of the early morning blaze at the property in Woodhill Road, Collingham.

The inquest heard Mrs Collison was found dead in her bed, while Isabella and Harvey were transported to the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham after being found unresponsive.

Harvey suffered a brain injury as a result of the blaze and his basic life support was stopped several hours later, as he died in his grandparents' arms.

Isabella suffered a cardiac arrest at the scene and emergency services continued to administer CPR on the way to hospital, but she died around two hours after the fire started.

The fire took just 22 minutes to become "extremely well developed", and only 34-year-old father Gavin Collison and the children's grandmother, Diane Fletcher, were able to survive.

Giving evidence at Nottingham Coroner's Court on Wednesday, fire service investigator Tom Archer of the fire service said the most probable cause was an electrical fault in the conservatory, but he was unable to identify the precise "seat" of the fire.

Neighbours had tried to alert the family about the fire but the blaze was so severe they were unable to get near the property.

Addressing how the blaze started, Mr Archer said: "Coming to the most likely cause of the fire, the most probable is accidental electrical.

"We looked at the electrical supply in the conservatory and there was no evidence one thing had caused this fire."

Also speaking at the inquest, Detective Sergeant Mark Shaw of Nottinghamshire Police said there was no evidence to suggest the fire was started deliberately.

Concluding all three deaths were accidental, Coroner Mairin Casey said: "I read and I accept that the causes of deaths were that all three died as a result of smoke inhalation.

"I'm satisfied that all the emergency services attended the scene at the earliest opportunity and police and the fire service started what was to be a comprehensive investigation."

The coroner offered her deepest sympathies to Mr Collison who "mercifully survived the tragedy", saying: "It is my fervent hope that you will pull together in this grieving process."

Outlining how the two children were remembered by their school, Miss Casey continued: "Held in high regard by the rest of her class, Izzy was quiet and unassuming, but this did not stop her from putting her all into everything she did. Harvey was very creative. He was kind and caring."

Area manager for Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, Damien West said “I hope that the findings of this inquest will bring some closure to all concerned, but we must not let this tragedy be in vain.  It is vital that we continue to raise the awareness of fire safety to avoid further incidents."