Blaze drama leaves family homeless

A MOTHER and three young children have been left homeless after they fled from a burning flat to escape a fire started by a two-year-old playing with a lighter.

A MOTHER and three young children have been left homeless after they fled from a burning flat to escape a fire started by a two-year-old playing with a lighter.

The blaze broke out in the front bedroom of the ground floor flat at about 6.30pm last night and quickly spread.

It was initially feared people were trapped but the mother, aged about 25, took her children, aged two, eighteen months, and one, to safety.

An ambulance was sent to the scene at Meadowbrook Court, off Brook Street, Colchester and they were all taken to hospital for check ups.


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The fire was well-alight and smoke was spreading through the three-storey Springboard Housing Association property.

Firefighters from the town's white watch arrived and evacuated about 12 people.

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Crews broke a window to get a hose into the flat and two officers wearing breathing apparatus went in and also rescued two rabbits from the blaze, which was put out just before 7pm.

It is understood the family were staying with grandparents in the town last night.

Station Officer Costa Olymbios, in charge of the incident, said: “The fire was started in the main bedroom by a two-year-old child who was playing with a lighter.

“The bedroom suffered extensive damage from the fire and the rest of the flat was badly damaged by smoke.

“The woman and children also suffered from smoke inhalation and were left in the hands of paramedics.”

Paul Godfrey lives in the top-floor of the building and returned home to see the fire.

The 30-year-old said: “I was not allowed back in as there was a lot of smoke damage.

“I have two corn snakes and two lizards and their cages were very, very warm. I just wanted to make sure they were ok.”

After the blaze was out, fire officers stayed at the flats to hand out safety advice and free fire alarms to the residents.

John Nicholls, clinical operations manager for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “There was a lot of smoke involved and there was quite a bit of fire damage.

“They all got out ok but we are taking them to hospital as it was a lot of smoke for little ones to be in.”

Essex police remained on the scene until the home was boarded up to prevent anyone getting in.

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