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Mum pays tribute to 'handsome, blue-eyed' son, four, who perished in house blaze

Published 27/07/2016

Tributes outside a home in Lon Tan-yr-Allt, Alltwen, near Pontardawe
Tributes outside a home in Lon Tan-yr-Allt, Alltwen, near Pontardawe

The mother of a four-year-old boy who died in a house fire has left an emotional tribute to him at the scene.

The child, named locally as Jac, was in an upstairs bedroom of the property in Alltwen, near Pontardawe, South Wales, along with a three-year-old boy when the fire broke out early on Wednesday.

Four firefighters went into the burning building, a two-storey semi-detached house, and managed to rescue the two boys, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said.

Jac's mother, named locally as Jennifer Davies, raised the alarm at 1.40am and managed to escape from the house with her six-year-old daughter and 11-month-old son, while neighbours tried to get in to help the stranded children.

The 28-year-old left a note signed from "mammy", Kelsey, Riley and Andrew at the scene, according to ITV News.

It read: "My handsome big blue eyed boy, your my life, my world, my everything and will never ever forget your beautiful blonde curls. Go ride your train up to heaven and wait for me.

"Save a bit of that light for me, and we will see each other again one day I promise. Kelsey, Riley, Andrew will always remember you always and forever. In our hearts forever."

A South Wales Police spokesman said how the mother and her children got out of the house forms part of its investigation.

The four survivors were taken to Swansea's Morriston Hospital suffering from suspected smoke inhalation, which is not thought to be life-threatening.

Outside the family home, visibly shocked neighbours stood in the street with their hands over their mouths, trying to make sense of the tragedy.

One woman was consoled by a police officer as she laid a floral tribute at the scene along with two teddy bears.

A card left with some flowers said: "To Jack. So sad to hear you are sadly gone. Harry will miss you, seeing you smile and playing with you at school. Gone too young."

Chris Margetts, senior operations manager for the fire service, described the blaze as "very severe".

He said: "When we got there, the mother and six-year-old daughter were out of the property and two young children were still inside. Crews went in with breathing apparatus and rescued the children - a three-year-old boy and four-year-old boy. Unfortunately the four-year-old did not make it.

"It was a fully developed fire and it was quite hot and challenging. It was a very confusing scene - when the crews got there there were other guys, neighbours, trying to get into the property to effect a rescue.

"The reality of the situation was crews concentrated on search and rescue and I'm very proud of the bravery and professionalism of the firefighters.

"The thoughts and sympathies of the fire service are with the family and the community of Alltwen at this tragic time. It's a very close-knit community and we will have specialist teams working to support them."

Three fire engines, one each from Pontardawe, Morriston and Neath, attended the scene.

Mr Margetts said the fire service and South Wales Police were investigating the cause of the blaze.

He added that he believed smoke detectors may have raised the alarm and urged homeowners to check them regularly.

Detective Chief Inspector Esyr Jones, of Swansea and Neath Port Talbot CID, said: "We are continuing to jointly investigate the fire at Lon Tanyrallt in Pontardawe which happened during the early hours of this morning. A scene examination is taking place by police and fire investigators to establish the cause, which at this stage is not known.

"A number of local people were involved in the rescue of the family but tragically a four-year-old boy died at the scene. I would like any witnesses or anyone involved at the scene who have not yet spoken to police to come forward with any information they may have."

A neighbour, who lives in the same street as the house, described hearing a woman's screams and smelling smoke as he watched television in his attic.

He said more than 50 people, including children, were in the street looking on as the tragedy unfolded.

"I did not see flames but you could not see down the end of the road because there was so much smoke - really thick smoke," he said.

"All the neighbours had come out and I just heard an almighty scream - somebody shouted 'Jac's dead', which was the little boy. They actually brought him out in a fire blanket and carried him to the ambulance.

"I'm not sure but (the scream) sounded like one of the boys."

The neighbour said a man arrived at the scene shortly after police, parking his car in the middle of the road and running to the house before learning of the boy's death.

He added: "He was punching the wall and he was in hysterics - he had to be taken away by a support officer - it was not nice at all. I think he must have been a family member, or it could have been the boy's father, someone close.

"It was just sickening. The thing that sticks with me is them carrying the boy out and the man screaming. It just make me feel sick thinking about it."

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