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Family flee house blaze

PUBLISHED: 09:55 30 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:03 03 March 2010

A MOTHER and her four young children are recovering today after fleeing from their house when it went up in flames.

Karen Bottley was alerted to the fire by when the smoke alarms at her home went off, and ran upstairs to get her two youngest children, Liam, 18 months, and six-week-old Christian.

A MOTHER and her four young children are recovering today after fleeing from their house when it went up in flames.

Karen Bottley was alerted to the fire by when the smoke alarms at her home went off, and ran upstairs to get her two youngest children, Liam, 18 months, and six-week-old Christian.

They managed to escape from the house – along with her other children, Ashley, six, and Natalie, five, as well as a family friend – before the blaze took hold of the first floor.

Mrs Bottley and her four children were taken to Ipswich Hospital where they were being treated last night for the effects of smoke inhalation.

Today the house remained empty, and neighbours – who said the house was often full of people - said they did not know where the family were living.

The fire started at just before 5pm yesterday and left the first floor of the family's semi-detached house in Forfar Close, Rushmere St Andrew, completely gutted. Its cause is being investigated today.

Fire crews had to cut part of the roof away and remove roof tiles to prevent the flames from spreading. They were still damping down and making the house safe more than two-and-a-half hours after the blaze began.

Mrs Bottley's husband, Kenneth, said he had been fishing with friends in Melton when he had been called on his mobile phone to be told his home was on fire.

He added his wife, who is aged in her 30s, and the children had not been harmed in the fire, but the flames had destroyed the first floor of the house.

As he surveyed the damage, Mr Bottley said: "I feel completely gutted. I've no idea how it started. I know she was downstairs and she said all of a sudden the smoke alarm went off.

"From what I gather she ran upstairs, grabbed the babes and ran out again. I'm happy everybody's safe."

Mr Bottley said when his wife was discharged from hospital, she would be going to her mother's home in Braintree with their two younger children, while the older ones would stay with him.

A spokesman for Suffolk Fire Service said it had been called to the blaze just before 5pm and three fire engines, plus the turntable ladder, had attended the scene.

A Suffolk police spokesman said it had been informed of the fire just after 5pm, but added there was no suggestion it had been started deliberately.

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