Heartbroken neighbors have described the desperate attempts to save a family from a devastating house fire which claimed the lives of two children.
Emergency services were called to Coronation Crescent, Preston, on April 8, after a blaze ripped through the property ‘in seconds’. By the time they arrived, some residents had already created a makeshift platform to help those inside escape.
It was confirmed yesterday (April 13), Louis, five, and Desiré, three, both died as a result of their injuries. Neighbor Tony Richardson told the Mirror: “I was sat in the house and I could smell burning plastic so I looked out, saw the house on fire and I could see someone screaming. I’ve struggled to sleep since it happened. I had my uni friend round and we rushed out to try and help.
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“The first person on the scene was trying to get the mum to throw the kids down saying they would catch them but she was only petite so I think she was struggling to lift them up.
“Someone else went round the back to try and get in that way. I could see the window was about to blow so we told her you need to jump now. Me and my friend grabbed a discarded wooden board and put it on top of some wheelie bins to create a platform for her to jump out onto. When she was down I wrapped my arms round her and took her away into the street but she was screaming ‘my babies, my babies’.”
Malesh Nayli, who owns Frenchwood Convenience store on the crescent, said: “I know Lorena because she used to work here in the shop for me. They are a lovely family, very friendly. A young lad ran into the shop and told us there was a fire on the crescent and a woman screaming. There was about three customers in the shop at the time and we all ran out we saw Lorena with the two kids and their faces were black.
“We tried to get through the front door but the whole thing was completely ablaze, it was like an inferno. We were shouting to her to drop the kids but she was busy crying and not reacting. So one of the customers kicked the lobby door in to get to the back.
“Gordon was trying to break the bedroom glass and get in but the smoke was too strong. We ran back through the ginnel to the front and someone had got her down but the kids were still stuck in the property.”
The tragedy has left residents on the crescent reeling and in shock, with many paying tribute to the family who had reportedly lived here for six years.
Joseph Najjar, a food delivery driver, said: “My little boy always waved at them and the two little kids would wave back. We had seen a van outside the house so we thought they were moving out. So when we saw the fire we thought no one was in the house. It’s devastating to think about as a parent.”
His wife, Nora Pascua, said “They are just lovely kids, we can see them from the bedroom window and we would often wave window to window. I regret that we didn’t go out and play with them, we’re always so busy so it was always a hello from a distance or passing by, but they are such polite and smiley children.
“It’s terrifying to think about when you have a child. It could happen to anyone and it’s just so sad to hear that they have passed away and that they have lost their two kids.”
Tributes have been left at the scene of the fire, including cuddly toys and flowers adorning cards which read ‘rest in peace’ and ‘fly high little ones’.
The neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “My son was downstairs watching TV and he noticed the flames, he came running upstairs to tell me but I was in the bath.
“I got dressed and started filming it. It didn’t explode, it was like something took hold of the front room and it went up in seconds. We saw a woman hanging out of the window.
“The lady was shouting my babies my babies. When they pulled the kids out they were lifeless and black with soot. It was so quick, everybody tried their best to get the kids out as quickly as they could.”