Boys burnt in second fire attack

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The Independent Online
TWO baby brothers were fighting for their lives yesterday after their home caught fire in the second arson attack on it in a week.

Billy Cunningham, six months old, and his brother Jim, 20 months, were trapped in the house after their parents, Michael Cunningham, 27, and Amanda McKenna, 21, jumped to safety from the first floor. The boys were in the burns unit at Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield, yesterday where their condition was said to be critical. Their parents were treated for smoke inhalation.

The fire at the house in Seacroft, Leeds, started about 1.20am and was believed to have started by the front door and spread up the stairs to the bedrooms. The first fire crew, who were called out at 1.27, arrived at 1.31.

Charlie MacNeill, one of the firefighters, said: 'The house was already well alight. Flames were shooting out of the front door and the bedroom windows. The boys' parents had jumped to safety from a first-floor bedroom window. The mother was hysterical and screaming at us to get her lads out.'

Three of his colleagues wearing breathing gear had gone into the burning house to rescue the boys.

Billy's godfather, Colin Greenall, 37, also of Seacroft, said: 'Earlier this week Michael ran round to my house and asked me to phone the police because someone had tried to set his house on fire. It seems to me someone has tried again and succeeded.'

Superintendent Andy Brown of West Yorkshire police confirmed that they were treating the fire as arson and were investigating the attack.