A MOTHER has spoken of how she fled for her life with her family from the fatal hotel fire in Newquay.

Susan Goodlad, 36, from Darwen, said that she was still haunted after watching a man jump to his death whilst trying to escape the flames at the Penhallow Hotel early on Saturday.

And the mum-of-three also had to endure a nightmare five minutes after losing her four-year-old daughter Zoe in the "pandemonium" of escaping the blaze.

She said: "To come so close to losing your life is a terrifying experience. The mental scars it has left will take a long time to heal."

Mrs Goodlad, of Argyle Street, was on holiday with her children Dean, 11, Karly, seven and Zoe, four in the south coast resort.

They were joined by her parents Ken, 62, and Brenda, 65, of Beech Grove, Darwen, while her husband Chris, 42, had to stay behind to work.

Tragedy struck around midnight on Saturday morning when fire tore through the hotel, where around 90 people were staying. One person died, jumping from the flames, and two people are still unaccounted for, presumed dead.

Mrs Goodlad was with her two daughters in a second floor room at the rear of the hotel while her parents were with Dean in a front bedroom on the third floor at the top of the hotel.

Mrs Goodlad said: "I woke up at about midnight to the sound of the fire alarm going off. There was no smoke around and I just thought it was a drill or someone's idea of a joke.

"I managed to wake Karly and Zoe and it was only when we stepped into the corridor and we saw a member of staff running down the hallway that I thought it was serious.

"People were shouting to get out of the building. I grabbed my jeans and a little poncho for each of the girls and we left.

"I then saw Dean and my mother coming down the stairs. There were so many people bustling about that we were all led outside.

"Someone grabbed Karly and another guest grabbed Zoe. I tried to keep track of them as we were leaving but I lost Zoe.

"People were panicking. I actually saw the man jump from the building.

"He was hanging from the window saying that he couldn't breath. Then we saw him jump. He was the man who died. There was so much black smoke coming out of the window behind him. The whole of the top floor seemed to be on fire."

She said she then began to panic after she was unable to find her youngest daughter as people were ushered to a safe area behind the hotel.

She said: "It was probably no more than five minutes but I couldn't find Zoe. I was beside myself. It turned out that one of the waiters had grabbed her to make sure she could get to safety.

"Dean found her in the end, he came running across to me and said - we've found Zoe'. It was awful time but I was just so happy that we had all made it out alive.

"You could see the flames spreading across the roof of the building. It was burning so fast, it was like watching a piece of paper that was on fire. I couldn't believe how fast the hotel was destroyed."

She said that the fire fighters took an "eternity" to arrive and were unable to do much to tackle the blaze.

After the family were reunited outside the hotel they were taken along with other guests to a nearby hotel before being transferred to a leisure centre.

Most of the family were in their pyjamas but were soon met with offers of clothes and food and drink.

Mrs Goodlad said: "We were well looked after. I couldn't believe how nice people were. We were being asked what size we were because hoteliers and cafe owners were doing their best to find clothes for us to wear. We were given drinks and food.

"The people were so kind. The community down there really looked after us."

She said police quickly attempted to make contact with all guests to discover who was safe.

All of the family were marked with a red marker pen on their hands to signal that they had been spoken to by officers.

Mrs Goodlad was then urged to phone home to let her husband know she was alright.

In the panic of leaving her room she had only taken her purse, her mobile phone and her room key.

She said: "At first I thought I had to take my key. It didn't occur to me that I wouldn't be coming back to the hotel room."

Husband Chris, who works for Dutton's Carpets in Blackburn, said: "When I got the call I wondered what on earth she was doing ringing so early.

"It was before the story had broken on the news. I was just relieved that they got out alright.

"When you look at the pictures on the television and in the newspapers you realise how lucky they were.

"My whole family could have been wiped out in one day. I've been in shock ever since it happened. I'm just glad they're back safe."

Mrs Goodlad said: "We had such a great holiday. We went to the beach and visited the Eden Project as well as St Ives and Penzance.

"It was brilliant, we had never been before and we all had a great time. Then this happened."

The family were due to come home on Saturday morning and before they went to bed on Friday night they packed their suitcases. They were travelling with Robinsons Holidays, who are based in Great Harwood.

By Saturday afternoon the family were taken home by their tour operators, Robinsons Holidays of Great Harwood.

Mrs Goodlad said the family were looked after well by the company.

They were taken by coach to Manchester along with a couple from Accrington where Robinsons provided a taxi to drop them off at their doors.

They finally arrived home at 12.15am on Sunday.

Mrs Goodlad said: "The whole thing was so frightening and looking back it is unbelievable what happened to us.

"I'm a nervous wreck all of the time and Karly and Zoe are scared to go to sleep at the moment.

"Karly keeps saying that she remembers the man jumping from the window.

"It was very traumatic, I've lost all of my possessions but the main thing is that we survived.

"The girls are upset because they've lost their toys and clothes. We had bought presents for people which have all been lost. I've lost jewellery as have my parents."

Search teams hope to begin their search of the debris at the hotel this morning. (TUES).

Yesterday work began to build a screen around the site before a search could be started.

Police believe the 43-year-old man who died in the fire fell from a second-floor window.

Four other people remain in hospital. Three are in a stable condition and one is said to be in a critical but stable condition.

Specialist demolition crews have pulled down the precarious upper floors of the hotel, which were in danger of collapse.