Pensioner died after nightdress caught fire

AN 86-YEAR-OLD woman died from severe burns after her nightdress caught fire in the living room of her Co Clare farmhouse, an inquest heard last night.

Seamus Moloney, a son of Agnes Moloney, told how he found her lying on the floor of the family home at Effernan, Kildysart in Co Clare, just minutes after her gown went up in flames.

Mr Moloney, who was in the farmyard when he heard the fire alarm, told Dublin City Coroner’s Court: “She was lying on the floor of the living room and kitchen. She was badly burned, her hair was still smoking.

“All her nightdress seemed to have been burned off her.”

He said his mother, who had eight children, was alert following the incident on the morning of February 26, 2004, but did not know how it had happened.

The court heard Deirdre Corish, a home help, had just left the house after laying out clothes for Ms Moloney to put on. Ms Corish said as she left the house, Ms Moloney was sitting by the open fire in the sitting room getting dressed.

The inquest heard there was a fireguard but Ms Moloney preferred not to use it.

Garda Michael Ryan said the only conclusion from the incident was that her nightdress had caught fire from the open hearth.

One of Ms Moloney’s daughters, who had travelled in the ambulance with her, said her mother said she stumbled as she got up out of the chair.

Ms Moloney, who was transferred to the burns unit at St James’s Hospital in Dublin from Ennis General Hospital, received significant burns to 50% of her body.

The postmortem revealed she died from multi-organ failure as a result of complications from the 50% burns received.

Dublin City Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said it was a tragic accident and passed a verdict of accidental death.

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