Search

Couple ‘lucky to be alive’ after Hornchurch fire kills dog

18:00 28 January 2014

Paul Francis in the room damaged by fire

Paul Francis in the room damaged by fire

Archant

A couple and their grandchildren escaped with their lives on Sunday after a fire ravaged the pensioners’ home during the night, killing their beloved pet dog.

Fire damaged room believed to have been caused by the fridgeFire damaged room believed to have been caused by the fridge

Paul and Jenny Francis were awoken in the middle of the night by their smoke alarms when the larder fridge in their Hornchurch home caught fire, filling rooms with billowing black smoke.

Mr Francis, 67, ran downstairs where he found the utility room so full of dense smoke he described it as “like having a black cloth put over your face”.

Meanwhile, Mrs Francis, 67, grabbed their two young grandchildren Harrison, five and Nathan, four, and wrapped them in blankets before bundling them out of the house.

Mr Francis said: “You think it won’t happen to you. I opened the door and it was absolutely black, I couldn’t see anything. I put the light on and it made no difference - it was that thick.”

He tried to rescue their black cairn terrier dog Rosie who slept under the radiator next to the fridge but she is believed to have died from smoke inhalation almost immediately.

When fire crews arrived they tried but were unable to resuscitate the 11-year-old animal.

“The fireman was extremely cross with Paul going in for the dog but it was a natural reaction,” Mrs Francis said. “I’m just broken-hearted without Rosie.

“If we didn’t have the smoke alarms it would have been a very different story but it didn’t do Rosie any good. I just cannot believe she’s not here but it could have been all of us dead.”

The fire broke out in the Ayloff Close home at about 5.30am on Sunday.

It took two crews almost an hour to bring the blaze under control.

Mrs Francis said her grandchildren were traumatised by the fire and so she tried to make a game out of it by talking about Fireman Sam.

Her husband was taken to Queen’s Hospital, Romford, where he was treated for smoke inhalation.

Mr Francis added: “Nothing’s going to bring Rosie back but if it saves someone by knowing how important fire alarms and shutting your doors are, it’s worthwhile.”

0 comments

Latest News Stories

56 minutes ago
Sad boy

The number of children in care going missing is rising, new figures reveal.

Yesterday, 16:14
Coral Knockton with son Oscar and Amanda Stone with son Jake at the college

Stunned college students have been left in limbo after discovering they all failed their IT course – having been told they had passed.

Yesterday, 13:41
Flowers and messages at the scene of the fatal crash last year

A man has pleaded not guilty to causing death by careless driving.

Yesterday, 08:32
Have you seen missing 14-year-old Klaudia Sokolowska?

Police are renewing appeals for help in tracing a missing 14-year-old girl who could be in Dagenham.

Most read news

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

Shop till you drop!

Home to top name brands at great prices, TK Maxx is more like a treasure hunt than a shop. Perfect for grabbing a bargain or some hidden gems, you arm yourself with a trolley and go wild.

Scones, jam and a cup of Earl Grey anyone?

Luxury boutique hotel Flemings Mayfair has recently launched The Drawing Room, London’s most stylish location for afternoon tea.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder