Croydon fire: Thornton Heath blaze breaks out in home leaving 13-year-old boy fighting for life


A 13-year-old boy is fighting for life and several others were injured after a fire broke out in a family home in Croydon.

Witnesses described how members of the public desperately tried to rescue the youngster as black smoke billowed from the windows of the house in Thornton Heath.

Police said two people, a man aged in his 30s and woman in her 20s, were injured trying to help the boy as the blaze raged on Monday evening.

They were taken to hospital with laceration injuries and suffering from smoke inhalation.

A next door neighbour said the boy’s father and two passing tradesmen tried desperately to rescue the teenager from the first floor window.

Val Dewson, 76, who lives next door, said: “It was just awful… I heard this almighty row, I thought somebody was fighting out there.

“You could see all the black smoke in both the bedroom windows. It all happened so quick, I kept thinking ‘come on’ about the fire brigade.

“There was a van out there with two ladders, two guys came over and put the ladders up but they couldn’t break the window, so somebody got a brick from my garden and broke the glass. It was just pandemonium.

“You just do what you can, you just feel a bit helpless as you look at those fellas trying to break the glass.”

Ms Dewson said that after firefighters wearing breathing apparatus rescued the boy medics treated him in the garden “for quite a while”.

“When the smoke came out the window it billowed out black but there seemed to be a yellowy colour as well,” she said.

She said the family, two young boys and their parents, had been living at the house for about a year.

Another neighbour said: “I heard screaming and shouting but I thought it was kids playing. Then it was very loud screaming and crying.

“I went to the back garden and saw the big flames in the window on the first floor. They were treating everyone outside.”

Some 25 firefighters and four pumps were sent to battle the blaze in Camden Gardens after it ripped through the semi-detached house just after 5.30pm.

One witness said she had “never seen such an emergency response in my life”.

Residents were forced to leave their homes before being allowed to return after the fire was under control by 7.45pm.

The boy was taken to a south London hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and remains in a critical condition.

A man, aged in his 50s, sustained a minor laceration injury and was treated at the scene by paramedics, police said.

Three firefighters were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation, and two children were taken to hospital as a precaution.

Emergency services continued to investigate the cause of the blaze this morning.

A Met Police spokesman said: “The cause of the fire has not been established and an investigation is underway. At this early stage, there is no evidence to suggest that the incident is suspicious.

“Officers from the South Area Command Unit investigate. There have been no arrests.”

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