KINGSWOOD, England — A three-year-old boy suffered critical injuries after fire ripped through a house in Kingswood.
A man in his 40s, a woman in her 20s and seven children, including a baby, were hospitalised after the blaze engulfed the home in Lodge Hill at around 6.40am on Saturday.
Nine people were believed to be in the two-bedroom terraced property when fire crews from Speedwell and Kingswood raced to the scene. The family's puppy was killed in the blaze. Lionel Fear, who lives three doors up from the house, climbed up a ladder at the back of the property and helped to pass a baby down to safety.
The 30-year-old construction manager said: "I woke up about 6.15am to shouts and screams and thought it was just a small domestic or something, but then I heard the shout of 'fire' and popped my head out the bathroom window and saw smoke bellowing out of the back window.
"I came downstairs to see the mother with three children on the lower roof and me and the neighbours put a ladder up, clambered up the ladder and brought as many of them down as we could until the fire brigade arrived.
"There was a three-year-old who was handed out through the front to a neighbour. I think he's very lucky to get out alive to be honest.
"It was a roaring inferno. At one stage, when I was up the ladder, something popped or a window blew, I was just carrying a baby down and it obviously scared the baby as there was some shards and shrapnel came out and landed on him."
Mr Fear said the family were new to the area and had not lived in the rented property for very long. "I believe there are a couple of generations that live in there, fathers, sons, grandsons, I believe," he said.
"From what I heard during the commotion there were babysitters and stuff, they were doing some babysitting or something.
"They have quite a few dogs as well, I think a puppy passed away, but that is nothing compared to what could have happened.
"The kids were surprisingly calm, the mother was doing a great job of calming them down and keeping them cool, but obviously it was a frightening period and everyone was trying to get away and to safety. I'm just so glad everyone got out."
Avon Fire and Rescue Service said: "Nine people were believed to be in the property, most of whom had already escaped but the service did rescue one adult and two children from a flat roof where they escaped to." The blaze took hold of the ground and first floors before firefighters wearing breathing sets extinguished the flames.
Two adults and five children suffering from burns and smoke inhalation were taken to Frenchay Hospital by four ambulances.
Lodge Hill was cordoned off at either end while fire investigators and police sent teams into the blackened house, missing its front window, to establish the cause of the blaze. Detective Constable Tony Hall said: "The fire is not thought to be suspicious and police are assisting the fire service to investigate the cause.
"Extensive damage was caused to the ground floor and the fire was contained to the one property.
"There was no evacuation of the street." Neighbour John Wildgoose, 59, said: "At 7am we heard shouting and I rang the fire and ambulance.
"I saw people leaving - I don't know their names, they have been there since about March.
"I believe one person has got serious burns."
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