Family thanks firefighters for rescue

Published: May 16, 2008 | 7050th good news item since 2003

A mother and three children saved from a burning house in Oxford yesterday thanked their rescuers.

Charmaine Partlett, 25, and three of her children Travis, seven, Mimi, three, and Skye, two, were rescued by firefighters from the blaze at their three-storey house, in Lyndworth Mews, Headington, on Sunday morning.

Miss Partlett was screaming from her top-floor window that she could not find three of her children but the fire crew got them out within a few minutes. All four were unhurt, apart from suffering smoke inhalation.

But the family lost all their possessions in the fire and have been put into emergency accommodation.

Yesterday, they met Slade Park fire station manager David Heycock, who was in charge of the rescue.

He chatted with the children and gave Travis his helmet to wear.

All the children shook his hand, while Miss Partlett thanked him for the firefighters’ speedy arrival.

She said: “We were just a couple of minutes from it being a lot worse.

“I have lost lots of possessions, the kids’ clothes and toys, but I can replace them. The kids got out somehow without a scratch on their heads and I could never replace them.

“I’m just thankful they’re all alive. The firemen kept coming back in and taking my kids out. It was unbelievably brave.”

Miss Partlett was woken by her smoke alarm at about 4am. The house was on fire and the bedrooms were filled with smoke.

She tried to rescue her children but could not find her way through the smoke.

Miss Partlett added: “I woke up to find my bedroom was filled with jet-black smoke and I could barely breathe.

“I couldn’t get to the girls’ bedroom but luckily I had my mobile phone. I found it on the floor through the smoke and dialled 999.

“I still couldn’t breathe and my eyes were stinging. All I could think about was I couldn’t get to the kids and didn’t know if they were awake. I have never been so scared.”

Firefighters broke down the front door and first rescued Travis from his downstairs bedroom, then found Skye and Mimi on the second floor.

Travis said: “I didn’t know there was a fire until the fireman came through the front window and grabbed me and took me through the window so I didn’t cut myself.”

Miss Partlett’s eldest daughter Rhiannon, nine, was staying at a friend’s house.

Mr Heycock said: “This was probably a once-in-a-lifetime job.

“To rescue four people from a burning house with eight rooms, things could have been so different.

“It’s so rewarding to see these children all fine and healthy.”

The fire is believed to have started accidentally, caused by an iron.

Published in Firefighters
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