‘I found two of my children staring at the fire in their room’ - Father-of-six tells of ‘horrific’ moment he discovered the family’s house was on fire
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press Â© 2011
A father-of-six has described the horrifying moment he found two of his children surrounded by black smoke after a fire broke out in their house.
As Martyn Thompson carried his sons Liam, 8, and Keiran, 9, away from the flames on the second floor of their Great Yarmouth house, his 17-year old son Daniel was forced to escape the blaze by climbing out of his third-floor bedroom window and sitting on the roof until fire crews rescued him.
The drama unfolded at around 7.50am on Sunday, at the family's terraced property on St George's Road near the town centre. Mr Thompson was woken by the smoke alarm and dashed into Liam and Keiran's room, where he found them frozen to the spot and shrouded in thick black smoke from a fire in the wardrobe.
Both children are autistic and Liam also has ADHD.
Mr Thompson, who himself has Asberger Syndrome, rescued them from the room and - together with his wife Susan Thompson - helped their daughters Belinda, 20, who has cerebral palsy, and Melissa, 21, out of the house.
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Meanwhile Daniel, whose room is on the third floor, escaped onto a ledge outside his window until the fire crews arrived and helped him down.
Mr Thompson then tried to contain the fire by throwing water over it before crews arrived.
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Two appliances from Great Yarmouth and Gorleston fire stations used hose reel jets to put the fire out.
The crews wore breathing apparatus and also used a fan to clear the smoke.
Mr Thompson, a former care assistant, said: 'I have that horrifying picture in my mind of my two sons just staring at the fire.
'The heat and the smoke was horrific.
'All the clothes in their wardrobe had been burned.
'I was relieved that Daniel had climbed onto the ledge because I knew he would be safe there.
'I'm so glad we had smoke alarms in the house, and I'm going to put alarms in every single room after this.'
The cause of the fire has not yet been confirmed.
Mr Thompson's sixth child was not in the house when the fire started.
He added: 'We would like to thank the prompt response from the emergency services and the help and support they provided to the whole family.
'We would also like to thank all the well-wishers and the kindness of complete strangers who have offered to help.
'This event has proven that smoke alarms are a valuable asset to a family home. Things could have been so much different otherwise.'
Louise Heath, 31, who lives on the street and witnessed part of the incident, said: 'It was worrying.
'All the houses are close together so there's always a worry that a fire could spread.'
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