Jockeys die in flat fire

TWO apprentice jockeys died today and two others were injured after a fire broke out at a block of flats.

TWO apprentice jockeys died today and two others were injured after a fire broke out at a block of flats.

Eyewitnesses said survivors were thought to have jumped out of windows to flee the blaze at the three-storey block near Malton, North Yorkshire.

Emergency services were called to Buckrose Court, in Norton, at around 2.15am.

Catherine Hyder, who lives opposite the flats, said: "My husband heard a girl come down onto the street and was banging on doors to raise the alarm.

"She said someone had jumped out of one of the windows. We could see the flames at the back and there were a lot of fire brigade people around.

"It was quite scary and quite noisy."

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Another witness Steve Kinsella, who is the landlord of the Railway Tavern, described how he was first aware of the incident when a girl came into the street screaming.

"I just heard someone shouting. So I looked through the window and saw a girl just running in the street,'' he said.

"All she had on was a t-shirt. She was shouting, 'Fire, fire', screaming at the top of her voice.

"I was just about to pick up the phone to dial 999 myself but as I had the phone in my hand the fire brigade turned up.''

Mr Kinsella said police asked him to open up his pub and up to 20 people evacuated from the flats came inside to recover.

He said at that point he did not realise anyone had died, although he knew the incident was serious.

He said he and his wife supplied everyone with tea and coffee while the police took statements.

Asked how the residents were in his pub, he said: "They were shocked but quiet.

"Nobody was hysterical. They were very, very dignified.''

Mr Kinsella continued: "They had lived through it. All I did was to give tea and coffee to them.

"I probably knew them by sight but nothing more than that. It's just very, very sad for young lives to be lost like that.''

A North Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said two people had died but officers were waiting for next of kin to be informed before formally identifying them.

"Two other casualties, two men believed to be in their early 20s, have been taken to York District Hospital where they are being treated for the effects of smoke inhalation and burn injuries,'' she said.

"It is too early to say what the cause of the fire was but a detailed examination of the scene will be carried out.''