Ipswich: Neighbour speaks of fears as fire rages through house with children trapped inside

IPSWICH: Neighbours of a family whose house went up in flames, leaving a father and his three children trapped inside, have spoken of their helplessness as the fire raged.

The three girls – aged four, six and nine – were seen at the first floor bedroom window when the blaze broke out at 2am yesterday, and had to be carried down a ladder to safety by firefighters.

They were taken to Ipswich Hospital along with their 27-year-old dad to be treated for smoke inhalation, but no one was badly hurt.

Fire officers have issued a safety warning to other residents as the blaze started in a portable heater which was left on overnight and caught light, leaving the living room gutted and the rest of the house badly smoke damaged.

Neighbour Julia Heathcote, 47, said: “I woke up and felt the fumes on my face and we realised the house next door was on fire.

“It was a terrible situation – we wanted to help but the smoke was billowing out so voraciously.

“It’s quite a frightening sight to see three little children hanging out of the window, yet be so helpless.

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“The brigade arrived almost instantaneously. They were a remarkable team of people, and the children were surprisingly calm. They climbed out with no problem at all, even though they must have been terrified.”

Two crews from Princes Street fire station were called to the blaze in Woodbridge Road, on the corner with Blanche Street, as the flames took hold of the ground floor, leaving the residents trapped upstairs with nowhere to turn and plumes of smoke billowing into the air.

Another resident of Blanche Street, who asked not to be named, said he woke to find firefighters shouting as they attempted to rescue the family.

“I just woke up and heard all this shouting and screaming,” he said. “I looked out of my window and saw all these firefighters.

“It wasn’t until I came out in the morning and saw all of the smoke damage on the side of the window that I found out the extent of it all.”

Landlord Sadek Hussin, 37, is today arranging for the damage to be repaired but does not yet know how much the repair bill will be.

He said: “I was really shocked when I heard, but the fire service was here so quickly – they were really good.”

n Have you ever been rescued by firefighters? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk