Family pulled from burning house

A TERRIFIED mother and her two young children were saved from their burning house in Ipswich today , as fire raged below.Firefighters pulled the 33-year-old woman and her two daughters from an upstairs window of the Rectory Road house and carried them to safety after the blaze broke out.

A TERRIFIED mother and her two young children were saved from their burning house in Ipswich today , as fire raged below.

Firefighters pulled the 33-year-old woman and her two daughters from an upstairs window of the Rectory Road house and carried them to safety after the blaze broke out.

The woman raised the alarm by calling from a mobile phone just before 4.20am.

The fire began in the front room of the terraced house and spread through the lower floor.


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As fire crews from the Princes Street and Colchester Road stations were dispatched a specially trained officer kept the mother on the phone and gave her survival advice.

Suffolk Fire Service assistant divisional officer Geoff Pyke said: "The crews were confronted with fire and smoke issuing from the windows of the front door, also the window to the front room.

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"Upstairs, in the window above, was the mother with the small child. They were hanging out of the window and were pretty distraught."

Firefighters used a ladder to access the first floor window and helped the baby, a one-year-old girl, from the house first before helping the three-year-old and the mother, known to neighbours as Julie, out.

"This was a severe fire. The house was filled with smoke," Mr Dyke said.

The woman and her daughters were taken to Ipswich Hospital suffering smoke inhalation and were being kept under observation.

One of the family's cats died in the blaze and another was treated by a veterinarian for respiratory problems.

Two other cats escaped unharmed.

Stunned next door neighbour Roy Lewis found one of the terrified cats scratching at his door after the fire.

"It was frightened. Obviously they had all scattered," Mr Lewis said.

"It was okay. The RSPCA took it away. The bloke up the road caught another two."

Mr Lewis said the woman and her daughters were well liked in the street and everyone was shocked by what had happened.

"Her father came and spoke to me and said they were up at the hospital and they were okay," he said.

"She's a lovely lady. The main thing is the fire brigade got here all right."

Mary Webb, who lives nearby, added: "My husband came running up the stairs and said there was a house on fire. He saw all the smoke coming out of the windows.

"It is terrible. A house on fire is everybody's worst fear.

"I'm just glad everyone is all right."

Another resident, a child minder who used to look after the three-year-old girl, said neighbours had reported hearing the windows being blown out by the intense heat.

"My neighbour said he heard the windows go, he heard a bang. It must have been bad for that to happen."

The fire service today praised the efforts of the officer who kept the woman on the phone for seven minutes before crews arrived.

"They have core survival skills and they're trained in dealing with these situations," Mr Dyke said.

"The work of the controller bought us time while the crews were getting to the scene."

Mr Dyke said such a serious fire demonstrated the need for working smoke alarms and fire evacuation plans.

"It's not the fire that kills people, it's the smoke. We always prefer to prevent the fires," he said.

"This shows the importance of the alarms and people having a fire plan."

An investigation into the cause of the blaze was expected to be conducted by fire investigation offices and police today .

Do you know the family involved? Do you have a story of the importance of smoke alarms? Contact The Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 324789.

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