Couple drop child from burning house

A FRIGHTENED couple who were trapped upstairs after a suspected arson attack at their home have told how they saved their child by dropping her into the arms of a friend.

A FRIGHTENED couple who were trapped upstairs after a suspected arson attack at their home have told how they saved their child by dropping her into the arms of a friend.

The parents and their 15-month-old baby escaped with their lives when the blaze ripped through their two-storey home after the fire raisers struck early yesterday.

The house was one of two homes in Melford Road, Sudbury, thought to have been deliberately targeted by the arsonists.

Garry Fayers, and his partner Chantelle Le Poidevin, both 22, who are still traumatised by their ordeal, saved daughter Courtney by dropping her 15ft from a first-floor window into the hands of Mark Pracey.


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Mr Pracey then helped the couple scramble to safety as the fire ravaged the property leaving them homeless and destroying all their belongings.

Mr Fayers said; "I am so angry that somebody could not only put our lives, but our young daughter's life at risk like that. We are very lucky to still be here today."

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The couple were in bed when they heard strange noises at around 12.30am yesterday. When Mr Fayers opened his bedroom door he was forced back by powerful black billowing smoke.

As the couple stood stranded in their bedroom they realised Courtney was in another bedroom, sleeping in her cot.

The brave father then battled his way through the acrid smoke and darkness and managed to feel his way to where his daughter was sleeping.

He then dangled her out of a rear window to allow her to get some air before making a dash back to his partner, as smoke filled their lungs.

Once back in the front bedroom the couple went to a window and screamed for help and called the emergency services. They also called Mr Fayer's sister Tracy who arrived within minutes with her boyfriend Mr Pracey, who persuaded the couple to drop the baby to him. He then climbed on top of a washing machine outside the property and helped the couple to safety.

Miss Le Poidevin and Courtney were treated for smoke inhalation at the West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds.

Mr Fayers said: "When I opened the bedroom door the smoke nearly knocked me out, but then I realised Courtney was in the other room. I couldn't see a thing, but I just felt my way through. On the way back I started to feel dizzy and even fell over a couple of times, but I just did what any father would have done."

Miss Le Poidevin said: "It is so lucky I was still awake because I don't think we would have heard anything if we were sleeping. I am just glad we are all safe now.

"I am so shocked by what has happened, it just didn't cross my mind that someone could have started it on purpose. How anyone can get pleasure from this I don't know, they have completely wrecked our lives, we have nothing left."

The couple had been renting the home for the past year and have to find new accommodation.

Mr Fayers said: "We are so grateful to Mark. He has done me a lot of favours over the years, but this one tops the lot. I don't think we would have got out without him."

Mr Pracey, 24, said: "I definitely don't see myself as a hero, I just did what anybody else would have done in the same circumstances. I just acted automatically and I am glad they all got out in one piece."

Up to 18 firefighters from Sudbury and Long Melford tackled the fire at 12.30am and managed to get inside the house and tackle the fire. The flames gutted the living room and the rest of the building was badly smoke damaged.

Divisional officer Paul Collins, said: "The investigation is ongoing and at this stage we cannot rule out any cause, including deliberate ignition."

Suffolk police said the fire is being treated as arson and confirmed burning tissue had been posted through the door of a second property in Melford Road, which caused minor damage to a door and net curtains.

A Suffolk police spokesman said: "We can confirm that at the moment the incidents are being treated as arson and we are appealing for anyone with any information to contact us immediately."

Anyone with information should telephone Suffolk police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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