There were warning signs before fire killed Kings Langley woman

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Support agencies for old people will enter into contracts to ensure elderly people’s homes are better protected, following the death of a woman who died in a fire at her home.

There were tell-tale signs that a tragedy was about to strike before a blaze killed 77-year-old smoker Janet Waite in the living room of her home in Primrose Hill, Kings Langley.

Steve Borrell, the community risk reduction manager for Herts Fire Service, told the inquest that burn holes in the Janet’s clothes and a bin fire just weeks before her death were ‘near misses’.

The fire that took her life and also killed her pet dog on June 10 this year started by a bin where she put her cigarettes out.

Dave Stokes, who was commander of Hemel Hempstead fire station at the time of the blaze, explained that the toxic fumes from the burning foam in her chair would have rendered her unconscious almost immediately.

Herts coroner Edward Thomas recorded that she died an accidental death.

Concerns had been raised after the earlier fire at Janet’s home.

She had three daily visits by carers and lived alone in her front room.

Hertfordshire Partnership Trust sent a nurse and social worker to assess her on June 6 but she had refused to discuss the fire.

Mr Borrell explained that contractual agreements with agencies that support the elderly in the community will ensure carers will get fire safety training and elderly people’s homes will have risk assessments.

He said: “We can help by providing things like fire resistant night wear and water sprinklers attached to smoke alarms for single rooms.”

For fire safety advice visit or call 0300 1234 046 for a free fire safety check.