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Northern Ireland family's house blaze terror after boy's clothing catches fire

A father has told of his fear as his family were trapped by a house fire in Co Londonderry before they managed to escape to safety.

Stephen Mullan, his partner Mirian Ramsey and his children Ben 12, Leah 10 and Rhys 9 were trapped inside the house on the Seacoast Road, Magilligan as the fire broke out just after 4pm on Monday December 26.

Mr Mullan said a spark from the hearth fire caught his youngest son Rhys' clothing.  The youngster has suffered third degree burns as a result.

Mr Mullan told the BBC as he rushed to help he looked around and the whole living room was alight.

"When I realised the fire was too much, I told them to go out the front door which was locked so we couldn't get out.

"It was just a matter of minutes and the whole house was completely covered in smoke.

"Me and the two boys ran up the stairs, Miriam and Leah were already in the back room. I got the fire escape window opened and the whole lot of us got onto a flat roof at the back. We contacted the emergency services then."

Advice was given by the control room operators and four out of five escaped to safety while the fifth person was rescued by fire service personnel using a ladder.

Three fire appliances attended and crews were met by a well-developed fire in a semi-detached property.

All people were treated at the scene and taken to hospital by ambulance.

The fire was extinguished by firefighters wearing breathing apparatus and using hose reel jets. The incident ended after 6pm. The cause of the fire was accidental.

Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service's Dermot Rooney said the telephone operator helped save their lives.

He said: "They were stuck for 20 minutes.

"Our operators are highly skilled in terms of gleaning information from distressed callers."

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