Blaze kills woman and two daughters

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The Independent Online

A woman and her two teenage daughters were killed when fire swept through their terraced house in the early hours of Sunday.

A woman and her two teenage daughters were killed when fire swept through their terraced house in the early hours of Sunday.

Tamsin Lowe, the 12-month old baby of one of the daughters, was thrown to safety from a first-floor bedroom window. She was taken by ambulance to hospital with burns to her face.

The three who died were Linda Lowe and her daughters, Sarah, 17, who had learning disabilities, and Lucy, 16, said a relative, though police said official identification of the bodies might take several days.

Two men, believed to be Mrs Lowe's husband, George, and the boyfriend of one of their daughters, also escaped from the house near Telford, Shropshire, after the fire broke out at 3.45am. They suffered minor burns and had inhaled smoke. The Princess Royal Hospital in Telford described Tamsin's condition as "comfortable".

Reports from the scene suggested that the fire was being treated as a suspected arson but West Mercia police would only say its cause was "unexplained".

Mrs Lowe's brother-in-law, Edward Lowe, who lives nearby, said: "The whole family is in shock at the moment. George has lost his entire family - two daughters and wife who he doted on.

"The family were very close and Sarah and Lucy were lovely girls. It would have been Sarah's 18th birthday on Wednesday and they were all planning to go out to celebrate with a drink," he said.

"I believe Lucy had just taken her exams after she had some time out to have her baby. They both had everything to look forward to. Sarah was partially disabled but always had a smile on her face."

Lenora Rhodes, whose home backs on to the Lowes', said: "I heard horrible screams coming from the house but then saw flames leaping from the windows. I saw the little baby was safe outside the house but I couldn't see the two girls and their mother."

At the height of the blaze, 35 firefighters were involved in bringing it under control. Three neighbouring homes were extensively damaged.

Habinteg Housing Association, which owns the 52 homes on the 1980s development, said all the houses had smoke alarms fitted.

The housing association said it would display a book of remembrance at its local office. Neighbours, friends and relatives laid floral tributes outside the house and residents organised a collection.

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