A bed-bound pensioner who had tried to light up a cigarette was found dead by her neighbour when he called in to feed her pets.
Mary Cook was found slumped in her bed – clearly dead – when her neighbour went in to feed the woman’s pet dog and cat.
Last week, a coroner declared the 80-year-old had suffered an accidental death, recording that she was killed by noxious gases rising from the fire, which had been caused by a misuse of smoking materials.
South Lincolnshire coroner Robert Forrest said: “It’s amazing how quickly fire gases can incapacitate a person.”
Miss Cook, of Dowdyke Lane, Sutterton, had been bed-bound for some time, the inquest was told, and neighbour David Wigston went over to the house frequently to help her with tasks.
Mr Wigston said: “I opened the back door and I could smell smoke straight away.
“I knew there was something wrong. I went straight to the room and I could see everything was covered in soot.
“Mary was slumped over, and I knew she was dead because I could see her side and she wasn’t moving.”
An investigation by Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue showed that the fire had started at the bottom of the bed, and it was most likely to have been caused by misusing smoking materials.
Fire investigation officer Stephen Wright said: “We found quite a few smoking materials on the scene, both homemade cigarettes and packets of Rizla papers and hand-rolling tobacco. The only ignition source we found was matches.”