Mother throws children from burning house

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The Independent Online

A mother threw her three children out of a first floor window into the arms of their father to escape flames engulfing their home today, a fire service said.

The family were awoken at 2am by a smoke alarm at the house in Burton near Christchurch, Dorset, and found the downstairs lounge on fire.

A Dorset fire service spokeswoman said the father jumped 15ft from the window. His wife then threw the three daughters - aged three, five and eight - from the window and he caught them. She then also jumped.

The family were checked over by paramedics and suffered shock and smoke inhalation but were otherwise unhurt.

"The fact they had to jump from a top floor window shows how severe the fire was and they are extremely lucky," the spokeswoman said. "If they did not have a fire alarm they would have died."

Station manager Richard Coleman said: "Without a doubt, the smoke alarms saved this family's lives.

"Their quick thinking and swift actions to get out and stay out and call us out means that they will live to see another day - it could so easily have been a far different story."

The fire is believed to have started in the sofa with smoke and flames spreading to the whole of the downstairs in their terraced house.

The sofa was completely destroyed by the fire, 50 per cent of the lounge was damaged by smoke and flames and 60 per cent of the rest of the property was damaged by smoke.

They were forced to spend the rest of the night with a family member.