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Grandma's tragic omission

PUBLISHED: 16:16 04 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:06 03 March 2010

A SUFFOLK grandmother told today how her family made a tragic error by forgetting to replace a battery in a smoke detector.

Jacinta Fox said that if the device was powered up it could have helped save the life of her beloved seven-year-old grandson who died in a fire at his Ipswich home in the early hours of yesterday morning.

A SUFFOLK grandmother told today how her family made a tragic error by forgetting to replace a battery in a smoke detector.

Jacinta Fox said that if the device was powered up it could have helped save the life of her beloved seven-year-old grandson who died in a fire at his Ipswich home in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Mrs Fox could not hold back the tears as she told how they had just overlooked replacing the battery at the little boy's home in Marlow Road.

"We meant to replace the battery but it was just one of those things that gets put back, especially over the Christmas period," she said.

Mrs Fox, who lives in nearby Ulster Avenue, was staying with the family when the fire broke out and she tried desperately to save the life of her grandson, Anton.

"I tried to get back and save him. I went some way up the stairs but the smoke was so thick I could not even get half way. Even one of the firemen suffered from the smoke. We all suffered from smoke inhalation but everyone else is home now and out of hospital.

"He was such a beautiful little boy and he was so bright. He used to call me his favourite fan. We are absolutely broken hearted and none of us can believe this loss. Anton was wonderful and everyone in his school loved him.

"He used to love ballroom dancing and had won lots of medals for it, everyone wanted to be his partner. That's why I was called his favourite fan, because I always went to see him. We are just taking one day at a time and trying to hold the family together," she said.

Mrs Fox also spoke of how Anton's mother, Ester, who is five months pregnant, is unable to look at any of Anton's clothes or toys.

"She is just heartbroken and cannot face going anywhere near the house. She is now throwing all his clothes out and cannot bear to see anything of his. She will not leave the house and we are desperate for help. We need clothes and a washing machine to help us," she said.

Anton's brothers and sisters, Joseph, eight, Tamara, five, Brendan, four, and Star, two, are all fine and recovering at Mrs Fox's home in Ulster Avenue with the rest of their family.

A neighbour of the family who did not want to be named said that this tragic death had made her think carefully about the importance of a smoke detector.

"I have smoke detectors but this terrible time brings home the importance of keeping them checked. Especially at this time of year the loss is all that much worse," she said.

The fire is thought to have been started by an electric heater in the room to help keep the little boy warm. The bedroom was completely destroyed and the rest of the house suffered from severe smoke damage.

Anton was in the room with his brother, eight-year-old Joseph and another person thought to be his 14-year-old uncle.

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