A DISCARDED cigarette was the most likely cause of the tragic fire which killed three children at Clarence Avenue last November, an inquest into their death was told today.
William, 9, AJ, 5, and Maddie, 3, died of smoke inhalation from the fire which began at their home at 18 Clarence Avenue on November 11 last year, while their mother Samantha Hudson, 28, was left with brain damage and is still in a rehabilitation centre in Goole.
Coroner Geoffrey Saul today returned a verdict of accidental death at the inquest, held over two days at Hull Coroner’s Court.
Gathered family heard evidence from a number of fire fighters, police officers and ambulance service staff, who pieced together the events leading up to the fire.
Steve Henry, forensic investigation officer for Humberside Fire Service, told the inquest that he had investigated every possible cause of the fire, and had ruled out all but a discarded cigarette.
He believed a cigarette had dropped into a pile of the children’s school uniforms close to the armchair Samantha was leaning against, situated on the left hand side of the bay window in the living room.
The cigarette then smouldered before catching fire, which quickly spread to curtains and a television cabinet.
At the first day of yesterday’s hearing, Samantha’s mother Sharon had to be comforted after questioning paramedic Simon Leeson’s decision to bring Samantha back to life.
On the day of the fire, Samantha had joined family for her sister Hayley’s birthday.
Her brother Mark Hudson had taken care of the three children, who were sleeping soundly at Samantha’s house on Clarence Avenue, and looked after them until Samantha returned home at around 11pm with friend David Hall.
Each had a drink and smoked a hand rolled cigarette, using an empty salsa dip jar, a tea saucer and an empty lager can as an ashtray.
Mr Hall told the inquest that Samantha had been drinking, but “had seemed merry and tipsy, not overly drunk.”
Mr Hall left at around 11.15pm before Mark Hudson who left a little later, between 11.20 and 11.25pm.
It is between this time and 11.52pm, when Humberside Fire Service received the first emergency call, that the fire began.
Read the full report from the inquest in next week’s Free Press.