Video & Gallery: Mum and son thank life-saving fire crews

A MOTHER and her ten-year-old son from Ipswich hugged the firefighters who saved their lives and declared: “We love you.”

A MOTHER and her ten-year-old son from Ipswich hugged the firefighters who saved their lives and declared: “We love you.”

Janet and Nathan Widmark are alive today thanks to the bravery of the emergency crews and their smoke alarm.

They were trapped in a bedroom after suspected arsonists torched their Bramford Lane home while they slept last Thursday.

As the fire ravaged through the property, the desperate pair were pulled to safety through a first-floor window with just minutes to spare.

In an emotional reunion at Princes Street fire station yesterday, Miss Widmark kissed and hugged members of the crew in a heartfelt show of gratitude.

Nathan was given a tour of the fire engines and wore a fireman's helmet as he took time out from Whitehouse Junior School.

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Miss Widmark, 50, said: “I love them all and thank them so very much because we are here today to see them.

“I have got faces to look at and I feel better because I know them now.”

Crew manager Dave Kemp said it was great to see that Nathan and Miss Widmark were OK.

He added: “We don't always get to see the end result. It is nice for them to pop in to say thank you. The operation was very much a team effort.”

Most of Nathan and Miss Widmark's possessions were destroyed either by the flames or the thick smoke that billowed through the house.

They have taken refuge with friends and Miss Widmark's mother while they rebuild their lives and look for a new home.

Miss Widmark said she is determined to stay strong for Nathan because she is worried he may suffer a mental breakdown with delayed reactions to the trauma.

She previously told The Evening Star: “I know Nathan is going to crack - something will trigger it.”

Miss Widmark is desperate to be re-homed by Ipswich Borough Council close to where she lived so Nathan's education is not disrupted.

Having initially said she never wanted to return to the burnt-out house because of the bad memories it conjures up, she now says she may consider going back if necessary.

It is expected to take around three months to clean up the property.

A police investigation into the fire is ongoing. A 35-year-old mother and her 17-year-old son, both from Ipswich, have been bailed by police until April 30 after being questioned on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.

- Do you have any messages of support for Nathan and Miss Widmark? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to

JANET and Nathan Widmark would most likely have been killed were it not for their smoke alarm.

With the fire raging at their front door and in the hall, they were woken by the device in time to shut themselves in a first-floor bedroom.

This shielded them for a vital length of time to allow firefighters to pull off the daring rescue.

Crew manager Dave Kemp said: “If they didn't have a smoke alarm they would probably be dead.”

Today, Miss Widmark urged all householders to install an alarm and regularly check they are working.

She said: “My smoke alarm saved our lives. It gave us the chance to shut the bedroom door.”

And echoing a national fire campaign called Pull Your Finger Out, Miss Widmark added: “If you have a smoke alarm, check the battery to make sure it is working.”

Nathan was also thankful for a fire safety demonstration he was given last year on the Crucial Crew programme for schoolchildren.

Faced with the flames as they leapt to the first floor, Nathan ran into his mother's bedroom and closed the door behind him to delay the fire.

FREE smoke alarms and safety information are readily available.

To get an alarm and advice on police, fire or community issues, please call the Community Safety Team on 01473 260588 or e-mail:

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