Woman Fell On Fire


North Road

Dorothy May Briggs, born in 1919 in Rotherham, is my third cousin, once removed and daughter of George Thomas Briggs and Doris Roberts.

In 1943, in Rotherham, Dorothy married Walter Ironmonger and together they issued three children.

Below are details from an inquest held shortly after Dorothy’s tragic death.


Woman fell on fire

The day after suffering an epileptic fit and falling on the fire at her home, a Rotherham woman died at the Rotherham Hospital, Doncaster Gate, the Rotherham Borough Coroner heard on Thursday week.

Mr. C. L. Blenkinsop recorded a verdict of death by misadventure on Dorothy May Ironmonger (46), of 127, North Road, Rotherham, who died on December 18th. Dr. A. Usher (pathologist), said that the deceased had suffered severe burning to her face and the right side of her neck. Death was due to acute pulmonary oedema, due to severe burns to the face. In reply to the Coroner, he said it was not unusual for a person who went into a deep epileptic fit to become unconscious and feel no pain.

Mr. Walter Ironmonger said his wife had been an epileptic all her life, and when she suffered a bad attack she would throw herself about, and could be unconscious for about 30 minutes. On December 17th, he left home with his married daughter to to go shopping, leaving his wife and young daughter at home. His wife was sitting by the fire.

Doncaster Gate Hospital, Rotherham - 19.08.07 (4)

Rotherham Hospital

“When I returned, I was told my wife had had an accident and had been taken to hospital with severe burns. After the accident, my daughter told me that while she and her mother were sitting in the living room, she had noticed her mother’s mouth twitching, as it usually did before an attack. She said she went to fetch her grandmother, but she was out, and when she returned she saw her mother had fallen on the fire, and she ran to fetch a neighbour,” added Mr. Ironmonger.