Worshipper died after church candle set fire to cotton robe

| September 26, 2010

A worshipper died after being engulfed in flames during a church procession when a candle set light to her robe, an inquest heard.

Oluwabukola Adeyemo, 27, suffered severe burns to half her body after her gown brushed over a lit candle placed on the floor by the entrance to the Christ Apostolic Church in Leyton.

The fashion student, who had a nine-year-old daughter Damilola, ran from the church when she realised she was on fire.

Churchgoers poured water over Ms Adeyemo and wrestled her to the ground to put out the flames. But despite a series of operations she died in hospital more than six weeks after the accident.

Paramedic Simon Hooper told Southwark coroner's court how he arrived at the church at 2pm on September 20 last year.

He said: “By the time I got there the fire had already been put out and the patient was walking towards me aided by two members of the congregation. I discovered she had been on fire for approximately two minutes. She had burns to her whole body and the skin was hanging from her face and arms.”

Ms Adeyemo, originally from Nigeria, had suffered third degree burns over 50 per cent of her body.

John Edgar, who investigated for London Fire Brigade, told the inquest: “We discovered a lit candle had been placed in a tray and left on the floor near the door for spiritual reasons, and it was this that caused her cotton clothes to catch fire.”

He said the church had now changed its health and safety procedures to ensure it could never happened again.

Coroner Dr Adela Williams recorded a verdict of accidental death.



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