Neighbours help rescue fire victims

Herald Series: A house has been cordoned off amid an investigation into the cause of a fire A house has been cordoned off amid an investigation into the cause of a fire

Neighbours have rushed to the rescue of a three-year-old boy caught in a "roaring inferno" after a house caught fire.

The boy was handed out through the front window of the home to a neighbour who came out after hearing screams of fire. Flames engulfed the ground and first floor of the terraced property on Lodge Hill in Cossham, Bristol, shortly before 7am on Saturday.

Nine people were inside the home, six of which were helped by neighbours to escape the blaze, while a woman and two girls were rescued from the roof by fire crews. At least two generations of one family are believed to have lived in the property, along with several dogs, one of which died in the fire.

Lionel Fear, who lives three doors up from the house, climbed up a ladder at the back of the property and helped to pass a baby down to safety.

The 30-year-old construction manager said: "I woke up about 6.15am to shouts and screams and thought it was just a small domestic or something, but then I heard the shout of fire and popped my head out the bathroom window and saw smoke bellowing out of the back window.

"I came downstairs to see the mother with three children on the lower roof and me and the neighbours put a ladder up, clambered up the ladder and brought as many of them down as we could until the fire brigade arrived.

"There was a three-year-old who was handed out through the front to a neighbour, I think he's very lucky to get out alive to be honest. It was a roaring inferno. At one stage, when I was up the ladder, something popped or a window blew, I was just carrying a baby down and it obviously scared the baby as there was some shards and shrapnel came out and landed on him."

Mr Fear said the family were new to the area and had not lived in the rented property for very long. He added: "The kids were surprisingly calm, the mother was doing a great job of calming them down and keeping them cool, but obviously it was a frightening period and everyone was trying to get away and to safety. I'm just so glad everyone got out."

Firefighters used two hose reel jets, one large jet and breathing apparatus to bring the fire under control. Four ambulances attended the scene, one of which took the small boy to Frenchay Hospital, which has a specialist burns department. A baby, three other children, two teenagers and two adults were also taken to the hospital as a precaution.

The blackened house, which is missing the front window, has been cordoned off while an investigation into the cause of the fire is under way.

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