AN ELDERLY woman from Weymouth died in a house fire after she deliberately ignited the bed she was lying on.

Dorothy Warr, 80, died in a fire in her home in Rutland Road on September 3 after a fire engulfed the bed she was lying on in her bedroom and filled the room with thick, black smoke, an inquest heard.

Mrs Warr, who had lived at the address for 69 years, suffered second and third degree burns to 80 per cent of her body following the fire, and suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning after smoke inhalation.

The inquest heard from Jason Rogers, fire safety policy manager at Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, who said firefighters were alerted by Mrs Warr’s neighbours who had seen smoke coming out of her bedroom window.

He said firefighters gained access by the back door after another neighbour provided a spare key, with two firefighters entering the house and they opened the door to the main bedroom to find the room filled with “thick, black smoke”, and Mrs Warr’s body.

Mr Rogers said following an investigation in conjunction with Dorset Police CID, two burnt out matches were found on the floor either side of the bed and a box of burnt-out matches had fallen through the bed into a cupboard, which was a part of the bed and that there was no other fire damage to the room, and that it had been a slow burning fire.

He said there was “no reason” for the matches to be in the bedroom as Mrs Warr was not a smoker and had no candles or anything she would need to light with matches in her bedroom.

He added: “It is my considered opinion that the most likely cause of the fire is a deliberate ignition of bedding and clothing by Mrs Warr. There was no reason for the matches to be in the room as there were no objects to light in there.”

Mrs Warr’s daughter Jennifer, who also attended the inquest, said her mother had a history of going into periods of depression and had been treated by doctors due to the condition, and would complain of feeling unwell if she was about to enter a phase of depression.

She added that she last saw her mother three days before the fire but had no concerns about her welfare or that she was becoming depressed, and said her mother had been in a positive mood discussing home improvements with the family.

The inquest also heard DFRS had visited the house in August to ensure the smoke alarms were working, which they were.

Coroner for Dorset Sheriff Payne ruled a narrative verdict, and said: “She set light to her bedding but her intention in doing so is unclear. It’s certainly a voluntary act that she did herself but the intention is unclear and it must be that it was a sign of distress and that she wanted help.”