12-Year-Old Girl Saves Her Family From Fire That Destroyed Their Home

12-Year-Old Girl Saves Her Family From Fire That Destroyed Their Home

A 12-year-old girl was today hailed a hero after she saved her younger brother and sisters from a fire that ripped through their home after a television burst into flames.

 

12-Year-Old Girl Saves Her Family From Fire That Destroyed Their Home

Courtney Ratcliffe kept a cool head when the faulty TV set alight moments after her younger brother had finished playing a video game on it.

As the blaze spread, she guided brother Lureice, 11 and sisters Lexus, nine, Shannon, six, and one-year-old Summer Poppy, out of the house.

The fire destroyed most of the family's possessions at their terraced house in Newton Heath, Manchester, on Wednesday.

But Courtney's mother Sarah, 29, who was having a driving lesson at the time, said: 'I am so proud of my daughter - I can't believe she kept her cool so well.

'In fact she reacted better than I probably would have.

'She's got a really good, level head on her shoulders usually anyway, but to come home and see that she'd rescued her brother and sisters was amazing.

'I don't care about my possessions - they can be replaced. I'm just so glad that she managed to get them out of there safely.'

The children were being looked after by Ms Ratcliffe's mother, also called Sarah, 62, and father Derek, 64, while she was having her lesson.

The couple were clearing out a shed in the back garden when the second-hand TV, bought two months earlier, burst into flames in Lureice's bedroom.

Courtney picked up Summer Poppy from her cot and led her siblings outside after the house's smoke alarm went off.

The children's cousin Declan, 14, who was also in the garden, ran to neighbours who called 999.

Courtney said: 'The fire alarm was going off, my brother went to see why and he came running down the stairs and said there was a fire.

'I took my little sisters out the back and brought them around the front to a neighbour's house. It was just instinctive.'

The children's grandparents were treated by medics after trying to tackle the fire themselves.

Ms Ratcliffe said: 'I was out on a driving lesson at the time and not long into it [the instructor] received a a lot of phone calls on his mobile.

'I pulled over so he could take it and he said I had to get home quick because my home was on fire.

'I thought it was probably just a little toaster fire in the kitchen but he drove me back home and when I got back I saw the state of it, I realised just how serious it was.

'I was frantic thinking about my kids and whether they were safe, and as we pulled up there was Courtney holding Summer Poppy and the rest of them standing with her.

'Seeing the damage to the house was heartbreaking - I can't believe a TV did so much damage.

'Pretty much everything has been destroyed - including their school uniforms.

'We're in temporary accommodation now but I don't know how long it will be before we can move back in there - the place was gutted.

'I'm heartbroken, particularly about the things that can't be replaced like pictures of the kids when they were babies.

'I'm devastated and I've lost everything but I'm just so proud of what Courtney did, she was brilliant.

'She got her sisters and just got out of there.'

Neighbours have rallied round to make sure the family has everything they need, including a pram and baby clothes, and are looking after their remaining possessions after they were burgled after the fire.

Because the blaze had taken hold of the entire first floor and attic, fire crews had to use a thermal imaging camera and cutting away equipment to ensure it was entirely out.

Councillor David Acton, Chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, said: 'What Courtney did is absolutely amazing.

'It is terrible that the family have lost so much in this fire but, thanks to their sister's calm response, they all got out safely and still have each other.

'It's frightening to think what could've happened if there hadn't been a working smoke alarm and if Courtney had not reacted in the way she did.

'Firefighters can help you with safety in the home by talking about escape plans and fitting smoke alarms when they come out to do a Home Safety Check.

'If you haven't had one, please let Sarah's story prompt you to do so.'

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