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Family’s unanswered questions over mum’s death in house fire

PUBLISHED: 16:43 05 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:43 05 December 2018

Mandy Miller. Pic: Sharron Miller Powell.

Mandy Miller. Pic: Sharron Miller Powell.

Archant

Mandy Miller was found dead after emergency services were called to a house fire in Reid Close on Friday, January 26.

Flowers placed outside the home of Mandy Miller in Reid Close, Ipswich, who died after a house fire.Flowers placed outside the home of Mandy Miller in Reid Close, Ipswich, who died after a house fire.

She was bed bound after suffering from MS for 10 years and therefore could not escape from the blaze.

The inquest heard that pathologists could not confirm the cause of the 47-year-old’s death and that the origin of the fire is also still uncertain.

Dr Jason Wang, who works as a pathologist at Ipswich Hospital, could not be certain whether Miss Miller had died before of during the fire.

The cause of the fire is also uncertain. The bedroom where Miss Miller was found was the centre of the fire and an area to the right hand side of the bed was the epicentre.

Mandy Miller with her nieces. Pic: Sharron Miller Powell.Mandy Miller with her nieces. Pic: Sharron Miller Powell.

However, the fire service listed six causes that could not be ruled out as the start of the fire. They included a lit cigarette, an electrical problem with a lamp and a malfunction with Miss Miller’s electrical bed.

Miss Miller’s daughter Kanisha, aged 23, said: “They still don’t know how she died. That is the big thing me and my family want to know is how she died. It seems like they don’t even know.

“I haven’t grieved yet. I was too worried about how my family are feeling, how my Nanna feeling so I haven’t even processed it yet.”

Coroner Dr Nigel Parsley said he believed that Miss Miller was at least unconscious and possibly already had died as the fire took hold and that the fire may probably started by a lit cigarette.

Care workers had seen burn marks in her bed clothes weeks before the fire and even once saw her fall asleep while smoking a cigarette. However, they had no power to stop her smoking and could only advise her to stop.

Recommendations made suggested better communication between borough and county and a more robust referral system so that carers can highlight if they believe a patient is at risk.

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