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Child saved from burning flat after corner shop duo fight blaze in Clacton

PUBLISHED: 15:17 07 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:43 07 November 2018

The scene of the flat fire in Clacton. Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

The scene of the flat fire in Clacton. Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

Archant

Two heroic convenience store staff have been praised for helping to lower a young child to safety from the first-floor window of a burning flat so the youngster could escape a fire.

The two One Stop staff, believed to be in their 20s, were finishing their shifts around 11pm on November 6 when they spotted smoke coming from the flat in Bocking Elm Parade, Clacton.

A fire broke out near the front door of the home of the young family, believed to have moved into the flat above a branch of Ladbrokes a few weeks before, blocking their only exit.

Seeing a mother and daughter in distress in the street-facing window, one of the young men helped the mother to catch the young child as she was dangled from the first floor.

One neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, described the chaotic scene as the two heroes sprang into action.

Remnants of burned belongings of the family believed to live in the flat are outside the front door. Picture: JAKE FOXFORDRemnants of burned belongings of the family believed to live in the flat are outside the front door. Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

She said: “It was about 11pm and we heard a loud banging on the door. It was the two boys from the shop telling us to get out and downstairs to get away from the fire.

“They were already spraying the front door with a fire extinguisher - there was thick black smoke pouring out of the front and fire in the hallway when we came out.

“A man was shouting: ‘My wife and kid are in there!’ and they had to explain they had already caught his daughter around the other side of the building.”

She added that had the pair not helped: “I don’t think the girls would have made it out.”

The two staff are staff at the One Stop shop, on the corner of Woodrows Lane and St John's Street. Picture: JAKE FOXFORDThe two staff are staff at the One Stop shop, on the corner of Woodrows Lane and St John's Street. Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

She said one of the shop workers “breathed in so much smoke that the firefighters had to give him oxygen on the pavement outside the shop”.

She added: “They are both such lovely boys, always happy to chat and talk at the shop. What they have done is incredible.”

When the three fire engines arrived, crews pitched a ladder and rescued the young woman who was still in the flat.

Watch manager Ruben Frost, from Clacton Fire Station, said: “The actions of these members of the public were truly selfless.

The smoke damage spread to the front of the building where fire crews were eventually able to rescue the woman left inside the flat. Picture: JAKE FOXFORDThe smoke damage spread to the front of the building where fire crews were eventually able to rescue the woman left inside the flat. Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

“Once it was clear that the occupants could not get out of the flat, they also helped to rescue the child by catching them after being lowered out of the window.

“These two people were incredibly brave and selflessly did everything we could to help the occupants of the flat.”

It is thought that the fire started in a front bedroom and spread.

The extent of any injuries to the family or the damage to the building is not yet known.

The two members of staff, both believed to be in their 20s, were finishing their shifts at the convenience store opposite and rushed to the family's aid. Picture: JAKE FOXFORDThe two members of staff, both believed to be in their 20s, were finishing their shifts at the convenience store opposite and rushed to the family's aid. Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

Firefighters have said the cause was accidental.

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