A coroner has called on the Government to review the safety of halogen bulbs after a six-year-old boy was burned alive when a bedside lamp caught fire.
Derbyshire Coroner Robert Hunter said nobody was to blame for the fire that engulfed Riley Jackson as he slept in his mother’s bedroom at their home in Ilkeston on October 26 last year.
The inquest heard how the hot halogen light bulb in the bedside lamp came into contact with a ‘combustible material’, starting the blaze in front of the bedroom door, which went on to spread around the room.
Coroner Robert Hunter said nobody was to blame for the fire that engulfed Riley Jackson (left) as he slept in his mother Cheryl’s bedroom. Pictured on the right: Riley and Cheryl together in an earlier photo
It is thought the youngster was asleep and unaware of the blaze as he was quickly overcome by carbon monoxide fumes.
Dr Hunter said he would be writing to the Government about the overall safety of halogen bulbs as they can reach a temperature of 200 degrees – which can ignite any combustible material and burn anyone who tries touching it.
It is thought the bulb was smouldering away for around 20 to 30 minutes before the fire took place.
Dr Hunter added: ‘Halogen bulbs are commercially available to buy in any shop. There is nothing wrong with them unless they come into contact with a flammable material.’
His mother, Cheryl Bradley, told the inquest how she heard the fire alarm go off and attempted to open the door to her room as Riley lay inside.
‘I can’t describe the fear. Hearing the alarm it’s just your worst fear,’ she said, describing how she and her nine-year-old daughter Grace went upstairs to investigate.
Miss Bradley told how she approached her bedroom and described how she could see the smoke underneath the door and ‘feel the heat of the flames’.
She desperately tried to open the door, which she said she hadn’t closed earlier, but was unable to do so.
The gutted remains of the home in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, on October 27, a day after Riley died
The court heard how there was no sound coming from inside the room.
Miss Bradley and her daughter evacuated the house onto the street at the front of the house – in a bid to find help.
‘I just remember screaming for help in the street,’ she said.
A neighbour also attempted to get into the bedroom door but was unsuccessful.
Riley was found by Derbyshire Fire and Rescue officers on top of the mattress after falling unconscious due to breathing in smoke.
Fire investigations officer Chris Smith, of Derbyshire Fire and Rescue, told the court that the door may have been blocked on the other side by burnt debris.
He also suggested the door could have expanded in its frame causing it to jam.
Dr Hunter blasted social media users for speculating on the incident at the time, and said those who made ill-informed comments should ‘hang their heads in shame’.
‘It’s very easy to point the finger at someone, in a position of ignorance, not knowing the full facts,’ he said.
‘It concerns me in society today that there is a lack of compassion for a mother who’s lost her darling little boy.’
The coroner said Miss Bradley she should not feel responsible in any way.
Dr Hunter said Riley’s death could only be described as a ‘tragic accident’, and that Riley would not have felt any pain from burns he suffered due to being unconscious.
It is thought the youngster was asleep and unaware of the blaze as he was quickly overcome by carbon monoxide fumes. Pictured: Firefighters at the house on October 27
Miss Bradley spoke of the night she lost her ‘loving’ son and paid tribute to him in court, calling him a ‘happy, high-spirited boy who loved life and wanted to learn’.
‘He was a very happy little boy who loved life,’ she said. ‘He was very high-spirited, a joy to be around,
‘He was a huge character. He had a thirst for knowledge, he wanted to learn something new every day.’
Miss Bradley also recalled the moment she gave her son ‘a big kiss and a hug’, before he went up to bed.
Riley, who was born with a heart condition, had a brother, Ryan, and a sister, Grace, who lived together at the family home.
A post-mortem examination found Riley died from fire-related burns and carbon-related toxicity.
Dr Hunter, who recorded a conclusion of accidental death, offered his condolences to the family and told them to ‘remember the good times’.