Pensioner died after night-dress caught fire

An 86-year-old woman died from severe burns after her night-dress caught fire in the living room of her Co Clare farmhouse, an inquest heard tonight.

An 86-year-old woman died from severe burns after her night-dress caught fire in the living room of her Co Clare farmhouse, an inquest heard tonight.

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 the Dublin City Coroners Court: “She was lying on the floor of the living room and kitchen. She was badly burned, her hair was still smoking.

“All her night-dress 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 Mrs Moloney to put on.

Ms Corish said as she left the house Mrs Moloney was sitting by the open fire in the sitting room getting dressed.

She said: “She like to dress herself.” The inquest heard there was a fireguard in the house, but one of her daughters said Mrs Moloney preferred not to use it.

Gda Michael Ryan said the only conclusion from the incident was that her night-dress had caught fire from the open hearth.

One of Mrs 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.

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

The post-mortem revealed she had died from multi-organ failure as a result of complications from the 50% burns received in the incident.

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

“She had reached the venerable age of 86 years it is a tragedy that her life should have been ended in such circumstances,” he said.

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