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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mother is only person to escape catastrophic fire at her birthday party which killed four of her children - including four-year-old twins

-The four were named by family as Reece Smith, 19, four-year-old twins Holly and Ella Smith and Jordan Smith, two
-Mother Michelle Smith was celebrating her 36th birthday with friends at home when blaze broke out
-Grandfather Keith Smith, 56, 'deeply shocked' by tragedy

By Lucy Buckland

Tragedy: Four-year-old twins Holly and Ella lost their lives in the fire, neighbours said their brother Reece had tried to save them

A mother escaped a devastating house blaze which broke out at her own birthday party, killing her four children yesterday, including four-year-old twins.

Michelle Smith had been among friends and family celebrating her her 36th birthday in Lytham Road, Freckleton, Lancashire, last night. They were in high spirits drinking and dancing both inside and outside the family home when the catastrophic fire broke out yesterday at 11.30pm.

It is believed her 19-year-old son Reece Smith, ran into the house to try and save his four-year-old twin sisters Holly and Ella and younger brother Jordan, two.
Tragically all four died in the blaze.

Chaotic scenes: Reece Smith (left) is believed to have run into the home to save his brother Jordan (right)

Investigation continues: Police confirmed there was a birthday party at the house, which remains sealed off today

Last night neighbours said Ms Smith was led screaming from the house after the news that four of her nine children had perished in a smoke logged bedroom.

She and some of her children had only lived there three months after the property was given to her to live in by her mother who lives in nearby Lytham.

The house was one of two Michelle's mother inherited and was a former market garden small-holding on the main road through the village.

It is understood the property was in the throes of renovation and had not been lived in for twenty years.

Fire crews said there was 100 per cent damage to the stairs in the house with 50 per cent damage to a wardrobe in the bedroom.

Community in mourning: Tiny Ella, Jordan and Holly are believed to have only lived in the house for three months

'All hell broke loose': Neighbours said fire crews rushed to scene where four people, including three children lost their lives

Shocking: The twin's grandfather said he only heard of the tragedy on the news this morning

Arriving at the scene today Ms Smith's father Keith Smith, 56, said: 'I found out about it on the news and heard there had been a fire at a house in Lytham Road and I started to think it might be Michelle and the kids.

'It's very shocking, these are such tragic circumstances. I don't know anything about what happened last night. They have lived here for about two and a half years - this was their grandmother's former home.

'I haven't had chance to speak to Michelle yet. It is just terrible. I last saw them all just after Christmas. I can't think of any reason why this has happened. It has just come as a big shock.'

Neighbour Vernon Allan said 'all hell broke loose' as the fire took hold last night in the small village.

Party: Police confirmed there was a gathering at the home which was attended by at least ten people

Tragic: Despite all four siblings being pulled from the home in Lytham Road, Freckleton, they were pronounced dead on arrival at the Royal Preston Hospital

He said: 'I heard the sirens at about 11.30pm last night and looked out of the window and suddenly all hell broke loose.

'There were police and fire engines all down the street. When we found out this morning about the loss of lives, and all so young, we were devastated.

'It is sad day for Freckleton, the loss of four young people, it is truly awful. I didn't know them but would see them about and just can't believe what has happened.'

Fire chief at the scene Phil Cox said: 'The place was a frenetic scene when we arrived.Fire teams from three town were sent to the scene around midnight.'

'There were reports of people being trapped we led one adult out and carried out four other younger people.'

'They appeared to be suffering problems from smoke inhalation and were taken to hospital. My men, the police and the ambulance crews all worked on them in a bid to save them.'

'Tragically they have died. Now we need to know what happened in there.'

A joint police and fire investigation is now under way.

Devastation: A neighbour said it was a sad day for Freckleton



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