The cause of a fire that resulted in the death of a devoted and popular St Dogmaels couple remains a mystery, an inquest heard today.

However, Deputy Pembrokeshire Coroner, Gareth Lewis, said that following the inquest a service that provides daily living aids would be ‘reminded of their duties’ to service and maintain the equipment they provide.

He emphasised that there was no evidence that equipment provided to Mrs Edwards had caused the fire but noted that it had not been serviced and possibly not maintained.

Married couple David Bowen Edwards, 60, and Margaret Eleanor Edwards, 55, died in a house fire at their home in Church Lane St Dogmaels in December 2022.

Deputy Pembrokeshire Coroner, Gareth Lewis, heard that the couple had been together for 35 years and married for 18. Mr Edwards was his wife’s full-time carer and the couple were devoted to each other.

Shortly after 1am on December 11, 2022, emergency services were alerted to a property fire at Church Lane. Firefighters arrived to find the small, terraced house well- alight, the fire having spread to the first floor and the roof space.

Fire crews entered the property and found Mrs Edwards, who slept downstairs in a hospital type bed due to her health conditions.

They rescued her from the building. She was unresponsive. Despite the best attempts to revive her using CPR, life was pronounced extinct some time later.

Fire crews went back into the house to search for Mr Edwards, however they had to make the difficult decision to exit the property and fight the fire from the outside due to its intensity.

As they withdrew the first floor and ceiling then collapsed onto the ground floor.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire from the outside. They then re-entered the home and found Mr Edwards inside.

A post mortem concluded that Mrs Edwards died of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by the fire and Mr Edwards of burns subsequent to a domestic house fire.

Fire scene investigator, Steven Christopher Rowland, told the inquest that a fingertip search of the home had been carried out in the days after the fire and evidence was sent off to be forensically examined.

The fire was believed to have started in the front downstairs bedroom of the house and then spread vertically.

It was noted that Mrs Edwards slept in a hospital type bed that was plugged in at two points and that there was evidence of an extension lead under the bed.

Mr Rowland said that there was evidence of arcing on the extension lead, but that that could have been caused by the fire.

The bed and mattress were both powered by three-point plugs. He said that it was possible that they were plugged in at the time of the fire, but he could not confidently say that that was the case.

He said that the cause of the fire could not be pinpointed to the bed, mattress or extension lead.

“I couldn’t say with 100 per cent certainty what started the fire,” said Mr Rowland. “There were a number of probable causes but given the extent of the damage, I am unable to determine the exact cause of the fire.”

Deputy coroner, Gareth Lewis, concluded that: “Despite the best efforts of the fire investigation team, the actual cause of the fire itself cannot be ascertained.”

Mr Lewis said that, although there was no evidence that the hospital bed provided to Mrs Edwards has been the cause of the fire, he had noted while reviewing the evidence that there was ‘a lack of servicing and possibly maintenance’ of the bed and mattress provided by Pembrokeshire Community Equipment Services.

Pembrokeshire Community Equipment Services is jointly funded by Pembrokeshire County Council and Hywel Dda University Health Board and provides equipment free of charge for as long as it is needed.

“I am not saying that this is the cause,” he said. “But I would like a message conveyed to Pembrokeshire Community Equipment Services to remind them of their duty in the provision of equipment.”

He recorded a conclusion of accidental death for both Mr and Mrs Edwards and extended his sincere sympathies to their family and friends.

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