Child with matches blamed for house fire

By Ted JeoryA FIRE that destroyed part of a family's home was started by a child playing with matches, an investigation has revealed.A 35-year-old man was playing with his five-year-old son in the garden of his home in Greene View, Braintree, when he heard a smoke detector go off inside just after 6.

By Ted Jeory

A FIRE that destroyed part of a family's home was started by a child playing with matches, an investigation has revealed.

A 35-year-old man was playing with his five-year-old son in the garden of his home in Greene View, Braintree, when he heard a smoke detector go off inside just after 6.15pm on Monday.

They ran inside and the father screamed at his wife, 31, and two children to flee their end-of-terrace home.


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Firefighters from Braintree and Coggeshall arrived within minutes and found the flames, which started in an upstairs bedroom, engulfing the first floor. Four neighbours from two other houses were moved out as the smoke spread.

It took fire crews more than 40 minutes to bring the blaze under control - about double the time it normally takes to deal with a house fire.

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Station Officer Steve Wintrip, of Braintree Fire Station, said: “This was so nearly a tragedy. If that family had not had a smoke detector, we could have been looking at a very sad scenario.

“Our investigation found the seven-year-old boy had been playing with matches in an upstairs bedroom.

“It's so important that parents do not leave matches or lighters lying around the house in easy reach of children - they should always be kept in a safe location.”

Much of the house has been severely damaged and the family of four are staying with relatives.

The two children and their mother were given a precautionary check-up by paramedics at the scene, but did not need hospital attention.

ted.jeory@eadt.co.uk

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