Blaze victim 'overcome by smoke'

AN ELDERLY woman who died in a house blaze might have been trying to quell the flames when she was overcome by smoke, it has emerged.

AN ELDERLY woman who died in a house blaze might have been trying to quell the flames when she was overcome by smoke, it has emerged.

Described by her family as a “private person”, Irene Conway-McGovern, 66, was found in her ground floor flat at Woodlands Park in Brandon Road, Mildenhall, on November 12.

Brave neighbour Hein Muller, who lives above Ms Conway-McGovern's flat, tried to rescue her but was forced back by the acrid smoke.

He said although the exact cause of the fire was still not known, he understood she had an open fire without a fire guard.

“We know she had an open fire and the suspicion that even we had was she did not have a fire guard and a couple of spare logs in front of the fire. Burning logs may have fallen out of the fire and that might have been the cause,” he said.

It is understood Ms Conway-McGovern, who was discovered in the kitchen, might have been trying to put out the fire when she succumbed to the smoke.

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In an email to the EADT, Ms Conway-McGovern's brother, Clive McGovern, who lives in Ireland, said: “It was tragic and shocking for us to lose our sister Irene is this manner.

“Irene in life was a rather private person and so in death we would like to maintain this position on her behalf.”

Firefighters who arrived at the scene of the fire within minutes of the alarm being raised managed to get Ms Conway-McGovern out of the Victorian building but nothing could be done to save her.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Fire Service said its investigation into the blaze had been completed and a report had been drawn up.

She added, however, that the service would not be releasing details as to the cause of the fire until the inquest into Mrs Conway-McGovern's death.

An inquest has been opened and adjourned into the cause of her death and a full hearing will be heard in due course.

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