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 Romford News Stories

7 minutes ago
Armed Forces day parade in Romford town centre

Veterans joined dignitaries and cadets to march through Romford town centre on Saturday.

Parents outside Parsonage Farm school in Rainham last year opposing expansion plans

Plans to expand a primary school have been recommended for approval a year after councillors refused an almost identical previous request.

06:00
Jobs in education are available at jobs24.co.uk Picture: PA Images

Looking for work in the education sector? There are currently 12 positions available in Romford on Jobs24.

Yesterday, 15:00
Cast members from the community musical Our House rehearsing at Queens Theatre, Hornchurch

A community musical is bringing together music-lovers from all walks of life in a wild and hilarious show set in north London in the eighties.

Yesterday, 12:00
Russell Triggs jumping out of a plane to fund his daughter's operation

The thought of his daughter gave a father the courage to jump out of a plane to raise funds for an operation to help her walk.

Yesterday, 10:00
Maureen and Raymond Fisher follow his dad Jacks guidance on how to make the perfect brew

Top classified information about how to make the perfect brew has at last been shared by the owner of Romford’s oldest cafe.

Saturday, June 25, 2016
Amanda Poll competes in Summer of Sound

Hundreds gathered to watch musicians fill a Romford mall with song on Saturday as the latest round of Summer of Sound saw eight contestants selected for the next heat.

Saturday, June 25, 2016
Snake found Havering Police on Monday  Credit: @MPSHavering

Police are trying to trace the owner of a pet snake discovered on the loose.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

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

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe