THE family of an 85-year-old woman who died following an explosion in her home after turning on a kettle have warned that gas tanks should be regularly inspected.
Lily Finnegan, from Doohamlet, Co Monaghan, died some time after 3.30pm on May 24, 2012, after making her usual trip to St Mary's Health Centre in Castleblaney to meet up with other elderly people. Having spent a few hours at the centre, she was collected by her daughter-in-law Bridget Finnegan.
Bridget told Carrickmacross Coroner's Court that after dropping her off, she had just driven up the road when she heard an "awful loud bang".
She immediately drove back down the road and noticed a gas tank on the ground outside Mrs Finnegan's house, which was making a "hissing sound".
"The front sitting room window was smashed," Bridget said.
Dr Joseph Moran, a mechanical engineer, told the court that a faulty gas tank caused excessive pressure to be supplied to the gas cooker in the kitchen, resulting in a leak.
"The spark that was needed could have come from turning on the light, turning on the kettle or opening the fridge door."
The court heard that Mrs Finnegan's body was burnt "beyond recognition".
The jury returned a verdict of accidental death and said that Mrs Finnegan died from smoke inhalation and burn injuries.
Speaking outside court, Mrs Finnegan's son Gerry appealed to homeowners to replace their gas tanks every 10 years. "We are asking people to get their gas tanks inspected regularly because it can save a lot of lives."