Dagenham couple sheltered woman and children fleeing fatal fire
PUBLISHED: 15:56 27 January 2017 | UPDATED: 15:56 27 January 2017
A couple who sheltered a woman and two children fleeing a fatal fire have described their experience.
Joan and Terry Kane, whose ground floor home is in the block of flats where the blaze broke out on Wednesday morning, explained how they opened their front door after they heard screaming.
“At first I thought the neighbours were rowing, but I saw a young lady coming down the stairs with two kids. They were crying in their pyjamas,” Terry, a retired council worker, said.
Noticing the woman had injured her foot the couple took her and the two children into their home.
“I gave her a pair slippers because she had nothing on her feet. She was only wearing a nightdress,” Joan added.
“I don’t think she understood us. I offered her a drink, but she didn’t speak a lot of English.”
Ten minutes later a fireman carried the young boy and girl away along with the woman.
“He had to take his helmet off because the children were frightened. They were crying. They just didn’t know what was going on. They were only toddlers,” Terry said.
The couple, who did not have to leave their Dagenham home during the fire in Bradwell Avenue, made cups of tea and coffee for the firecrews as they tackled the flames, which took more than two hours to get under control.
Speaking in his living room, a relieved Terry said: “We were fine. There was no smoke in here.”
Since the fire, Terry, 62, and Joan, 65, have laid flowers outside the four storey building’s entrance as a mark of respect.
Commenting on the deaths of the two women, Tracey Osborne, whose home is below the flat where the fire started, said: “It’s so sad because someone’s lost a part of their family.”
Mother of one Debbie O’Shayer, who alerted the fire service, explained how she didn’t stand around, but acted as soon as she saw the fire.
“It was about 7.20 and I heard a woman shouting, “Fire, fire” and saw the windows shatter. I thought, get them the help they need and get everyone out. It was terrifying.
“I saw the girl screaming. She was in shock. The woman was holding onto the boy.
“I never knew them. They kept themselves to themselves. Every time I walk past the flat I see it. It’s very sad,” said Debbie, who also left flowers at the scene.
The cause of the fire is being investigated.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Barking and Dagenham Post. Click the link in the orange box above for details.