Heater ‘most probable’ cause of fire that claimed pensioner’s life

65-year-old, who was originally from County Cavan in Ireland, died in early-morning blaze

Friday, 27th July 2018 — By Emily Finch

Hornsey Rise Gardens Fire at flat

The scene of the fire in Hornsey Rise Gardens

AN ELECTRIC heater that fell on the carpet is the “most probable” cause of a fire that claimed the life a pensioner and his dog, an inquest heard this week.

Mystery surrounded the cause of the early morning fire near Crouch Hill that saw an elderly neighbour hospitalised after suffering from smoke inhalation.

Fire crews attended the fire at the ground-floor flat in Hornsey Rise Gardens in February and found the burnt body of Gerald Maguire, who was pronounced “extinct of life” at the scene. His dog was found in the bathroom which had suffered smoke damage.

An inquest into Mr Maguire’s death was opened by Dr William Dolman at St Pancras coroner’s court in March.

Dr Dolman said at the inquest on Monday: “It’s possible he might have died of natural causes. However, there is no evidence of natural diseases and I expect that almost certainly he died from severe burns from much of his body. In conclusion this was in a word: an accident.”

Dr Dolman said there was no evidence of forced entry into the house and Mr Maguire’s body was found in his living room where he was lying on his back. The remains of an electric single bar heater was found near his charred body.

A live-in carer for Mr Maguire’s upstairs neighbour smelt smoke and called the fire brigade at 5.29am on February 6, this year.

The coroner added: “Mr Maguire had mobility issues for the last few months and refused to seek medical intervention. There was a smoke alarm in the hallway.”

The 65-year-old, originally from County Cavan in Ireland, lived on his own and had last seen a GP in 2008.

Mr Maguire’s body was so damaged from the fire that he was only identified through DNA samples taken from muscle tissue.

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