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Woman and three children flee house fire in Ashford

Amanda McLaren in her living room and the blackened surrounds in Willesborough.

A mother who fled a house fire with her three children says she has been left in utter shock and disbelief that a candle could cause so much damage.

Examining the aftermath this morning, Amanda McLaren, 38, said: “It’s like I’m looking at someone else’s life, someone else’s house.

“I am completely gobsmacked at how quickly it all happened. Thank God everyone is alive and safe.”

Cat Jasmin is covered in soot from the fire in Willesborough.Two fire engines and 11 firefighters were called to the house in Bushy Royds, South Willesborough at 7.55pm last night.

The fire started in the living room after an unattended candle on the mantelpiece set alight a wall-mounted television above it.

Amanda said: “I popped upstairs to put my eldest to bed at 7.30pm, and I had a quick wash. When I came down the stairs I thought ‘that candle looks a bit fierce’. I then realised the TV was on fire.

“I had no idea what to do. I ran into the kitchen to grab a tea towel to try and put the flames out.”

It only took Amanda seconds to realise that the fire was too big for her to extinguish, so she called 999, and then ran upstairs to rescue her three children.

The two youngest, William, two, and James, one, were asleep in the nursery, which is above the living room.

Amanda, who works as a Slimming World consultant, said: “I got the two babies out first, put them in the car, and then ran back in to get my four-year-old, George.

“After making sure all three children were safe I ran back into the house again to shut the doors.

“It felt like forever before the fire crews turned up, even though it was probably only five minutes. I think I was in shock”

"i am completely gobsmacked at how quickly it all happened. thank god everyone is alive and safe" – mum amanda mclaren
Even the family cat, Jasmin (pictured), didn't escape unscathed - it got covered in soot from the fire.

Two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the house and put the fire out. A search was carried out and all the windows were opened to allow for ventilation.

An ambulance from the South East Heart Team also attended, but no one needed assistance.

Amanda said: “When I tried to put the fire out I burnt my fingers, but adrenaline had kicked in so I didn’t even think to tell the ambulance about it.
“When I was allowed back in the house, I was in disbelief at how bad the damage was – just from a candle.

“This might make other people think twice about leaving a candle unattended.”

Fire crews were at the scene for just over an hour.

Watch manager Jim Sanderson, from Ashford’s Blue Watch, said: “We would like to get two very important messages across. Please don’t leave candles unattended, even if it is only for a few minutes.

“Also if you have a fire in your house, don’t try and put it out yourself, and don’t delay getting out; just get out and stay out.”

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