Mother and two children died in house fire ‘likely’ started by electrical fault
Justine Collison was pronounced dead at the scene and her two children, Harvey and Isabella, died in hospital.
A mother and her two children were killed in a house fire which was “likely” to have been started by an electrical fault, an inquest heard.
Justine Collison, 32, died from smoke inhalation after a blaze which also claimed the lives of her eight-year-old daughter Isabella and five-year-old son Harvey on December 15 last year.
Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service were unable to establish the precise “seat” of the early morning blaze at the property in Woodhill Road, Collingham.
The inquest heard Mrs Collison was found dead in her bed, while Isabella and Harvey were transported to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham after being found unresponsive.
Harvey suffered a brain injury as a result of the blaze and his basic life support was stopped several hours later, as he died in his grandparents’ arms.
Isabella suffered a cardiac arrest at the scene and emergency services continued to administer CPR on the way to hospital, but she died around two hours after the fire started.
The fire took just 22 minutes to become “extremely well developed”, and only 34-year-old father Gavin Collison and the children’s grandmother, Diane Fletcher, were able to survive.
Giving evidence at Nottingham Coroner’s Court on Wednesday, fire service investigator Tom Archer of the fire service said the most probable cause was an electrical fault in the conservatory, but he was unable to identify the precise “seat” of the fire.
The inquest was told Mr and Mrs Collison had been socialising in “party mood” with friends until the early hours of the morning and had parted company around 20 minutes before the fire started.
Neighbours had tried to alert the family about the fire but the blaze was so severe they were unable to get near the property.
Addressing how the blaze started, Mr Archer said: “Coming to the most likely cause of the fire, the most probable is accidental electrical.
“We looked at the electrical supply in the conservatory and there was no evidence one thing had caused this fire.”
Also speaking at the inquest, Detective Sergeant Mark Shaw of Nottinghamshire Police said there was no evidence to suggest the fire was started deliberately.
Concluding all three deaths were accidental, Coroner Mairin Casey said: “I read and I accept that the causes of deaths were that all three died as a result of smoke inhalation.
“I’m satisfied that all the emergency services attended the scene at the earliest opportunity and police and the fire service started what was to be a comprehensive investigation.”
The coroner offered her deepest sympathies to Mr Collison who “mercifully survived the tragedy”, saying: “It is my fervent hope that you will pull together in this grieving process.”
Outlining how the two children were remembered by their school, Miss Casey continued: “Isabella was a gentle and caring girl who will be truly missed by those who knew her.
“Held in high regard by the rest of her class, Izzy was quiet and unassuming, but this did not stop her from putting her all into everything she did.
“Harvey was very creative. He was kind and caring.
“He made a handbag out of cardboard boxes for his mum because she was always mislaying her phone.
“They will remain in our hearts forever.”