Victim's return to caravan fatal

NICOLE MCDOUGALL
Last updated 12:12 05/08/2014

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Alcohol and cannabis likely contributed to an Invercargill woman's death in a caravan fire, a coroner has found.

Teresa Anne Thompson, 45, died of smoke inhalation on March 16 after the caravan she was living in caught fire while she was asleep inside.

Thompson along with family and friends had attended the two-year anniversary memorial at Bluff of the sinking of the Easy Rider, which claimed eight lives in 2012.

Coroner CJ Devonport said, in formal written findings released today, Thompson and the others then returned to a house on the Bluff Highway.

Thompson, who was intoxicated, went to bed in the caravan, which was beside the house, about 3am. At 4.47am a passerby noticed the caravan and house on fire and alerted its occupants, who were all safely evacuated, he said.

However, Thompson was dead in the caravan, he said.

Fire Risk management officer Paul Glanville said it appeared Thompson was aware of an initial fire in the caravan and removed burning material from the caravan onto the lawn, the findings said.

She returned to the caravan and fell asleep.

''I consider the combined effects of alcohol and cannabis likely contributed to a sedative effect and, not being alerted by any smoke alarm, resulted in Ms Thompson dying from smoke inhalation.''

A lit candle was the most likely ignition source for the fire, he said.

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- The Southland Times

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