Floral tributes for woman and child killed in house blaze
Flowers and candles have been left outside a house where a woman and a child from a Polish family died in a fire.
The pair, named locally as Alina and her daughter Emilia, died at the scene after a blaze broke out in South Street, Braintree, Essex, just before 10.45pm on Wednesday.
One tribute left outside the detached house read: "Dearest Alina and Emilia. You were both taken far too soon and we feel that loss very deeply. We will miss you forever and always. With our combined love and our deepest sympathy. Rest peacefully together."
Two other women escaped the building and were taken to hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation. One is believed to be Alina's 18-year-old daughter Milena Kordaszewska.
Fire investigators were seen in the house on Thursday morning.
A solitary Christmas decoration of Father Christmas hanging from a ladder remained unscathed, while windows on the first floor at the front of the house were smashed, with smoke damage leaving tiles missing from the roof.
The house was sealed off by police tape as the investigation into what caused the fire continued.
A friend of Ms Kordaszewska, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Press Association: "I hope the press respect what we are all going through and that those that knew those sadly gone show all their love and support towards Milena and her family."
Friends of the 18-year-old have set up a fundraising page to raise £5,000 for the family.
It read: "On Wednesday 21st of December one of my dearest friends family home set alight. This itself is such a horrid thing to happen so close to Christmas, but unfortunately not everyone made it to safety.
"Her mother and little sister became trapped and didn't make it out of the house, this left an 18 year old with her father to lose everything they love, family, possessions and a place that was safe for them.
"Although this is so sudden after the tragic loss I feel drawn to the fact that although materialistic things can never heal what's happened, nobody deserves to have nothing at Christmas. The sole purpose of this page is to help financially towards them rebuilding their lives and not having to worry financially about finding accommodation and eating. Please contribute anything that you can and let's hope that as a community we can make our love and support heard for Milena and her family."
To donate to the page, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Kordaszewskafamily.
Neighbours were woken by a police helicopter as officers, fire and ambulance services descended on the scene.
One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: "We realised there was something going on at about 11pm as there were sirens and a lot of cars.
"It's terrible for something like this to happen - especially at this time of year."
Frankie Ricci, chairman of Braintree District Council, said on Twitter: "My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those caught in the South Street house fire in Braintree. Tragic beyond words."
James Cleverly, Conservative MP for Braintree, tweeted: "Shocked by the terrible news that a mother and child have died in a fire in Braintree, my thoughts are with their friends and family."