Chesser fire: Family ‘lost everything’ in blaze

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A HEARTBROKEN family has “lost everything” in a horrific fire which tore through a city home.

Lesley and Paul Ramage fled their property on Hutchison Terrace with children Kayla, Drew and Luke after the blaze broke out in the attic shortly after midday yesterday.

Firefighters tackle the blaze. Pic: Ian Georgeson

Firefighters tackle the blaze. Pic: Ian Georgeson

It spread so quickly the youngsters, thought to be aged seven to 12, escaped with nothing but the pyjamas they were wearing while dad Paul was in his Christmas slippers as they watched on helplessly.

They were unharmed but it is believed a family cat and pet hamster may have perished in the flames.

Devastated Lesley was comforted by friends and neighbours as she wept in the street while firefighters fought to gain control of the inferno.

Paul’s dad, Ivor Ramage, said a lifetime’s possessions had gone up in smoke.

Five appliances are on the scene. Pic tweeted by Bilal Akram Ashraf

Five appliances are on the scene. Pic tweeted by Bilal Akram Ashraf

He said: “They have lost everything, the bairns are still in their pyjamas. All of their Christmas presents are gone, everything.

“One of the cats is still in there. They’re very upset. It’s hellish.

“We’ve got no idea how it started. I just thank God they are all still alive.”

Firefighters battled to prevent the fierce blaze from spreading. Next-door neighbours Ruziya and Jahirul Islam were evacuated with children Zahid, 15, Eamon, 12, Riya, nine, and two-year-old Isha.

They anxiously awaited the fate of their home as fire crews smashed through their bedroom wall to access the fire from that side.

Ruziya said: “I feel so sorry for them. Whatever happens to our house is nothing compared to what they have lost.

“I saw Lesley and she was absolutely devastated. She’s such a nice lady, they are such a nice family.

“I think there’s a cat and a hamster that didn’t get out. Kayla had got the hamster for Christmas, she was so excited she was telling me about it. All their Christmas presents were in there but it’s the precious memories that you cannot replace.”

Her family was told the house was not safe to stay in and they have had to make arrangements to stay with relatives.

She added: “I can’t believe how quickly it spread.” A crowd of onlookers gathered at the scene, opposite Asda Chesser, while police closed surrounding roads for several hours.

Sheila Thompson, 67, struggled to keep her emotions in check as she watched what had been her family home for more than 40 years, obliterated by the fire. She lived in the 1920s semi-detached property with her parents until she got married and moved to a nearby house.

She said: “The main thing is that they all got out, but it is very sad. It’s sad for me to see it but it’s even sadder for poor Paul and Lesley. It’s them we’re all thinking of.”

A fire spokeswoman said it was “too early to say” what caused it.