Babysitter arrested as girls escape fire alone
A babysitter has been arrested on suspicion of child neglect after three young sisters fled their burning home in just their pyjamas.
The girls – thought to be aged 11, eight and six – banged on their next door neighbour’s door after escaping the blazing property on Mayfield Avenue, Thornton.
It is believed they had been left with a babysitter while their mother was at work on Saturday night.
Today, police confirmed a 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of child neglect following the terrifying incident at 3.35am on Sunday.
Neighbour Simon Holmes, 45, of Mayfield Avenue, said he was “stunned” to open his door to find the children asking him to call for help.
He added: “I woke up to hear banging and shouting at the door – I raced downstairs and saw three children there.
“They were screaming their house was on fire, I was just stunned – I ran outside and could see it was already well ablaze.
“I took them inside so my wife Louise could look after them and called 999.
“I then woke a next door neighbour in the house
adjoining where the fire was to make sure he could get out. It took at least two or three hours for fire crews to dampen the fire down.
“The children were taken away by paramedics for treatment.”
Neighbour Daniel Mellor, 23, added: “I heard banging and clattering.
“At first I just thought some plates had been knocked over, but it turns out it was the glass shattering because of the heat.
“I then heard the fire alarm going.
“I heard banging, went downstairs and my neighbour said there was a fire next door. I got up and went outside. It looked like the girls had got out on their own. They were dressed in their pyjamas.”
Neighbours said there was no sign of a babysitter at or near the property when fire crews arrived.
Tracey Butterworth, 50, added: “I woke up to see blue sirens outside the window. I heard there were three kids in the property. It is fortunate nothing more serious happened.”
The fire resulted in serious smoke damage to virtually the whole of the first floor.
Fleetwood Fire crew manager Kevin Warwick said: “It was obvious this was a serious incident.
“Nobody was in the property, which was a relief as the fire was extremely intense and had spread across the whole of the first floor. The smoke and fire was issuing from two upstairs windows.
“It took 20 minutes to bring the blaze under control. On another day these circumstances may have resulted in serious injury or worse.”
Fire chiefs said they
believed the fire had started after some candles were knocked over.
A spokesman for Lancashire Police added: “A 22-year-old man from Fleetwood has been arrested on suspicion of child neglect. He has been bailed until December 10.”