A Sheffield woman drowned in her bath after breathing in smoke during a house fire caused by a candle.
Tahira Baker was caught up in a fire at her flat at Carwood Green, Burngreave, exactly a year ago today (September 23).
At an inquest into her death pathologist Dr Philip Lumb, who carried out an autopsy on the 25-year-old Bermudan’s body, said there was evidence of drowning and carbon monoxide inhalation in her lungs.
Fire investigation officer Graham Toms told the inquest it had been a ‘very serious’ fire which reached 600C and spread within minutes.
He said the fire had started in the front room and was caused by fabric coming into contact with a naked flame. The remains of a Yankee candle were discovered at the source of the fire.
Mr Toms also described how towels were discovered on the floor of the bathroom where Tahira died. He said burn marks on the bathroom door showed that it had been closed and then opened during the fire.
When pushed to speculate, he said Tahira could have used the towels to try to stop smoke coming into the bathroom.
“At some point the door was opened and she may have intended to do a self-rescue,” he added. “Carbon monoxide can have very quick debilitating effects on the body. I have ingested smoke and it does have a very quick effect.
“If she staggered backwards she may have fallen back into the bath.”
Statements from neighbours were read out, describing how Tahira had been heard shouting and playing loud music the night before she died, and had been seen naked in her garden.
But she was described as a ‘normal, happy’ person with no history of bad character or mental health issues.
DC Mary Glossop, who investigated the death, said there was no evidence of suicide or foul play.
Recording a conclusion of accidental death, assistant coroner Louise Slater said: “The fire was the unintended consequence of a candle lit by Tahira Baker.”
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