Bodies found in blaze house

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The Independent Online

The bodies of two people, thought to be a mother and child, have been found in a house destroyed by a massive fire, emergency services said today.

The blaze broke out in the early hours of Sunday but the bodies were only found yesterday afternoon.

Rescue efforts were hampered by the collapse of floors and ceilings at the property in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.

Crews from Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue had rescued one woman from a bedroom window using a ladder and were searching the multi-occupancy house when conditions became too dangerous for them to continue.

One firefighter was trying to reach the room in which the bodies were found when the floor collapsed and he fell to the level below. He was taken to hospital with arm and shoulder injuries but has since been released.

His colleagues extended a ladder to the bedroom window in an attempt to reach the two people from outside, but they were beaten back by flames and extreme heat.

Assistant chief fire officer Des Williamson said: "Firefighters searched in the most difficult conditions imaginable.

"We couldn't have done any more because of the intensity of the fire and the structural collapse within the building."

The cause of the fire is still being investigated. Thames Valley Police are treating the incident as unexplained.

The bodies of the pair, who have not yet been identified, will be removed from the property later.

More than 30 firefighters were called out to battle what the fire service described as a "very severe and dangerous" blaze.

Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service said several families lived in the house in Fishermead Boulevard, Fishermead.

Mr Williamson said: "This is a tragic loss of life and our thoughts are with their relatives and friends.

"The bodies were not found during the initial searches of the scene as firefighters were hampered by the severity of the fire and the amount of debris that had fallen into the room."

As well as trying to find the cause of the fire, Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service is examining fire safety precautions at the house and the cause of the firefighter's injury.

A Thames Valley Police spokeswoman said: "Thames Valley Police was contacted at 1pm yesterday by Bucks Fire and Rescue, reporting that two bodies had been discovered inside a property in Fishermead Boulevard, Milton Keynes.

"The multi-occupancy property had been badly damaged by a large house fire in the early hours of Sunday morning.

"At this time the cause of the fire is not known. Thames Valley Police is investigating the incident with Bucks Fire and Rescue."