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Quick-thinking neighbours rescue Pendle family from 'terrifying' blaze
A family-of-seven scrambled through a window over the garage and down ladders provided by neighbours.
NEIGHBOURS rescued a family-of-seven through a bedroom window as fire tore through the lounge below.
Tracy French, her partner and five children were asleep and without a working smoke alarm when the blaze broke out in the early hours of yesterday.
By chance, a neighbour opposite spotted the flames, dialled 999 and ran to the rescue with a ladder to get the children out before firefighters arrived.
All seven were taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation, while the living room was ruined by smoke damage.
Tracy, 44, of Trent Road, Nelson, said: “It was terrifying.”
Firefighters said the fire started at around 1.50am yesterday when sparks from a faulty television receiver box spread to the curtains.
Stacey Campbell, who noticed the flames and rang 999, said her daughter, Georgia, 18, and another neighbour used a ladder to usher the family to safety from a garage roof.
Ms Campbell, 43, said: “It was lucky that I was awake really. The only reason I was up is because I had driven back from Devon with Georgia and was having a drink before I went to bed.
“I could see a flicker out of the corner of my eye because the street was so dark and I thought it was unusual.
“I realised it was too late for it to be kids messing about and it looked like the curtains were on fire so I rang 999. I went across the road to talk to them through the window and tell them help was on its way.
“They had all gathered in the main bedroom but that was directly above where the fire was coming from so I shouted at them to get into the other bedroom near the garage roof.
“Georgia and Ged went over with a ladder and some of the kids were able to climb out.
“There was a bit of screaming and a bit of panic but the main thought was just to get the kids out.”
Ms French said the family all gathered in one bedroom when they realised their home was on fire. She said she hadn’t slept since the incident.
Her partner Colin Earnshaw, 52, and children Leah, 17, Courtney, 15, Cara, 13, Charlotte, 11, and Adam, nine, spent yesterday removing the charred remains from the burnt-out room.
She said: “It was terrifying. It’s all a bit of a blur really. We’re just so lucky that Stacey noticed it and got us all into the one room.
“It’s going to be a while before things are back to normal.”
Two crews from Nelson fire station arrived within minutes and broke through a downstairs window to put out the flames.
They also rescued two guinea pigs, Fuzzball and Poppy, and a dog, Coco.
Watch manager Tom Simpson said: “The neighbours had done a brilliant job in making an early rescue of the occupants possible.”
The television, a hi-fi, curtains and blinds were destroyed, while there was severe heat damage to the living room and smoke damage throughout the rest of the house.
The house had a smoke detector but it failed to work as the battery had been removed.
Ms French said: “We turned it off because it always goes off when we’re cooking bacon.
“The fire service have replaced it and we won’t be doing that again.”
Watch manager Simpson said: “Luckily, the downstairs door had been shut preventing a lot of the smoke reaching the family.
“Smoke alarms save lives. You are more than twice as likely to die in a fire at home if you haven’t got one.”
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