Emotional message to boys' family

TWO young brothers killed in an horrific caravan fire in Ipswich were today named as Rodney Smith, 11, and his three-year-old brother Ben.The boys died when the blaze engulfed the 20-ft long caravan they were in at West Meadows travellers' site in Bury Road, Ipswich, apparently trapping them inside.

TWO young brothers killed in an horrific caravan fire in Ipswich were today named as Rodney Smith, 11, and his three-year-old brother Ben.

The boys died when the blaze engulfed the 20-ft long caravan they were in at West Meadows travellers' site in Bury Road, Ipswich, apparently trapping them inside.

An investigation was continuing today into the cause of the blaze, which broke out just before midnight on Saturday , and post mortem examinations on the boys were expected to be carried out this morning .

Ben and Rodney's tragic death prompted an outpouring of grief from the Ipswich community.

Today Ipswich mayor Roger Fern issued a heartfelt message on behalf of the town.

He said: "I would like to say just how desperately sad this is.

Most Read

"The whole of the town will now be thinking of them and those who pray will be making prayers on their behalf."

Three fire crews were called to the travellers' site after the fire broke out. It was extinguished by 12.46am but the firefighters were unable to save the two boys.

The cause of blaze has not been determined but it is not being treated as suspicious.

Today fire cause investigators are working with officers from Suffolk Police to try to piece together what happened.

The caravan was recovered from the site and taken to another location where officers will trawl through the debris to find any clues they can.

A Suffolk County Council spokeswoman said: "In the case of any fire it is routine that the fire investigation officers examine the site thoroughly as soon as possible after the event.

"In view of the tragic loss of life of the two boys and the sensitivities of the family and local community this will not be done on site itself."

The tight-knit community at the West Meadows site has been inundated with support from relatives and friends of the boys' family.

Their death sent shockwaves throughout the entire Ipswich community and left Mr Fern pledging the family would receive all the support they needed.

He said: "This will have a big impact on not just the family but their friends.

"I'm quite sure the community will rally around and do what they can to support them."

Students and staff at the Ipswich school where Rodney attended, have been stunned by his death.

The tragedy prompted Suffolk County Council to make available counsellors to help them cope with their grief.

Ian Brown, the council's southern area education manager, said: "It is deeply shocking to hear the news that these boys have been killed in such tragic circumstances, and our thoughts are with their family and friends at this very sad time."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter