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Three young sisters were killed when a Tumble dryer overheated, starting a fierce blaze at their home.

A build-up of fluff in the dryer caused the appliance to burst into flames

Smoke alarms which could have saved 11-year old Louise Waddington and her sisters Hayley, ten, and Gemma, seven, failed to work because the batteries had been disconnected.

The girls mother Jayne, told Burnley Coroners Court yesterday how she had put clothes in to dry at around 11:15pm on February 6th last year then gone to bed upstairs soon afterwards.

Around 15minutes later the blaze broke out in the kitchen of the house at Hapton, near Burnley. Mrs Waddington, 45, told the inquest she was unable to find her way downstairs because of the thick black smoke. She leapt to safety from an upstairs window.

Neighbours broke down the back door to try and reach the girls but were beaten back by the flames. Fireman found the bodies of Louise and Gemma on the landing. It is thought they tried to escape but were beaten back by the ferocity of the blaze.
Hayley was found dead on the lounge settee, where she had fallen asleep waiting for her father Barry to return home from his shift as a Taxi driver. All three died of smoke inhalation.

The inquest heard that Mrs Waddington used the dryer several times in the day. Forensic reports said it caught fire because this high useage had caused lint from the clothing to accumilate in the filter. The extractor hose should have taken the hot air from the dryer outside but was often left to circulate it in the kitchen and may have become constricted, adding to the lint build-up, the report added.

Recording a verdict of accidental death the coroner Richard Taylor said "The warning from this tragedy is that no-one should take electrical appliances fror granted, the fire from the tumble dryer could not have been forseen!"

After the hearing Mr Waddington said he was considering legal action against the company that sold the family the tumble dryer. "I still believe there could have been an electrical fault", he said, "but at last we can now get death certificates for our little ones!"(Daily Mail)

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