‘We miss our lovely Norma’

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The family of a much-loved grandma who died in a horrifying house fire has paid tribute to her.

Constance Norma Sweeney, known as Norma, of Mary Street, Whaley Thorns, was killed when a blaze – caused by an electrical fault – ripped through her home in the early hours of Christmas Eve.

Speaking after her inquest this week, Mrs Sweeney’s daughter, Rachel, said: “She was a lovely, wonderful mother.

“She was always smiling and had lots of kisses and cuddles for everyone.

“The whole family sorely misses her.”

The Chesterfield inquest heard how 65-year-old Mrs Sweeney had alerted her daughter and her daughter’s partner after her husband was woken by the smell of smoke.

The hearing was told the smoke was so bad the family couldn’t see their hands in front of their faces.

The three made a dramatic escape from the fire but Mrs Sweeney, who volunteered at the local Snapbox charity shop, died.

North Derbyshire Deputy Coroner Nigel Anderson said: “Mrs Sweeney did everything she could to save the lives of the two girls.”

Post-mortem results revealed Mrs Sweeney died from severe burns and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Anderson said the blaze was sparked by a damaged electricity supply cable.

At the time of the fire it emerged Mrs Sweeney’s home was not fitted with smoke alarms.

After the inquest, fire crews reiterated the importance of having working detectors.

For more information, visit www.derbys-fire.gov.uk.