Hero London 7/7 bombings doctor killed in fire caused by cigarette thrown into plastic bag

Hero London 7/7 bombings doctor killed in fire caused by cigarette thrown into plastic bag

Claire Sheppey was one of the first to respond to the devastating terror attack 11 years ago which stunned the world

A hero doctor who helped scores of victims in the 7/7 bombings was killed in a terrifying fire which gutted her London flat after she discarded a cigarette in a plastic bag.

Dr Claire Sheppey, 47, had been drinking and was more than twice the drink-drive limit when she died in the savage inferno, an inquest heard.

St Pancras Coroner’s Court was told that the brilliant doctor was never even aware of the huge blaze.

Dr Sheppey had fallen asleep and had no working smoke alarm.

The fire erupted in Dr Sheppey’s Crowland Terrace flat in Canonbury, north London, in the early hours of March 16.

The blaze began smouldering in her second floor living room about two hours before flames quickly spread.

Fumes seeped into Dr Sheppey’s bedroom and she died of carbon monoxide poisoning after being rushed to Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

It was the hospital where she battled to save dozens of terribly-injured and shell-shocked victims after Islamic terrorists killed 52 people in an onslaught on Tube trains and a bus on July 7, 2005.

Well-liked Dr Sheppey, originally from Reading, Berks, joined the hospital in 2004.

She worked as a consultant paediatric anaesthetist, quickly gaining a reputation as a first-class medic.

Dr Sheppey, whose tragic death shattered her colleagues, was one of the first to respond to the devastating terror attack 11 years ago which stunned the world.

Fire investigator Dean Wilkinson told today’s inquest: “Around the sofa bed were a number of plastic bags containing cigarette butts and empty packets.

“This caused the fire to start. It started slow and smouldering, which developed into flames.

“It was very heavy smoke. You wouldn’t have even been able to see your hand in front of your face.”

Mr Wilkinson estimated it would have taken about two hours to explode into a full-blown blaze.

Dr Sheppey, who wasn’t burned at all, was found slumped in her bedroom by firefighters.

She had 193 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millitres of blood, the hearing was told.

The drink-drive limit is 80mgs of alcohol per 100mls of blood.

Mary Hassell, the senior coroner for inner north London, concluded that Dr Sheppey’s death was “accidental” as she warned that smoke alarms were vital.

Ms Hassell said: “It’s important for public safety that everyone who hears about this fire understands that no smoke detection was a factor.”

She added: “Dr Sheppey had been smoking, but didn’t discard the cigarette properly before going to bed.

“A very slow, smouldering fire began. The fumes would have been very toxic.

“It seems to me she fell asleep and was never aware of the fire.”

Original source: The Mirror

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