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Family's fire ordeal

PUBLISHED: 18:29 21 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:38 03 July 2010

ESCAPED FROM FIRE: Peter Gilbert and daughter Katelyn

ESCAPED FROM FIRE: Peter Gilbert and daughter Katelyn

A FAMILY-of-three have been left in limbo in temporary accommodation after their block of flats was gutted by a fire.

Katie Brown, 32, her partner Peter Gilbert, 40 and their eight-month-old daughter Katelyn do not know when they will be able to return to their home in Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth following the blaze in the early hours of Monday.

A FAMILY-of-three have been left in limbo in temporary accommodation after their block of flats was gutted by a fire.

Katie Brown, 32, her partner Peter Gilbert, 40 and their eight-month-old daughter Katelyn do not know when they will be able to return to their home in Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth following the blaze in the early hours of Monday.

The family have been re-housed temporarily at the Ravenswood Hotel in Yarmouth, but do not know if they will have to find a new home or whether they will be able to return to their previous flat.

Mr Gilbert said the landlord of the heavily smoke damaged building above the Crown Carvery restaurant had told him the electrics had been turned off in the block and had to be re-wired.

His Surrey-born partner described her fear as she perched on a three storey high ledge outside her front bedroom window overlooking the seafront during a dramatic rescue from the smoke-logged building just before 2am.

She explained she sat on the window sill with her daughter and some of the firefighters with breathing apparatus came up the stairs to help usher her onto the ledge where Katelyn was brought down by another firefighter who had climbed the ladder.

The firefighters took her daughter, who remained calm throughout, first by ladder but Miss Brown refused to go down by ladder because of her fear of heights so the hydraulic platform had to be lifted up to her instead.

She said: “I was scared. I was crying because I was frightened of it all because I had never been in that situation before. We were pleased with the job the firefighters did. If they had been five or 10 minutes later it could have been a lot worse.”

Miss Brown was asleep when she heard the smoke alarm sounding, while Mr Gilbert had just returned from an evening out playing darts at a local pub. But she initially thought it was cooking from a downstairs flat.

She only realised it was more serious when she saw smoke coming through her front door.

So she grabbed her dressing gown and went to the top of the stairs outside the door but was beaten back by the smoke coming from the blaze on the other side of a fire door on the second floor, which would have been the escape route.

Mr Gilbert, from Liverpool, who is unemployed, ran outside and tried to get up the back stairs to tackle the flames with a fire extinguisher, but was beaten back by the smoke.

By this time, Miss Brown and other tenants had all dialled 999 and the fire crews had arrived.

Five other residents fled the fire including Chris Gilchrist, 19, who leapt to safety in his bare feet from his second floor flat.

He had awoken at 2am and looked out of his door to find the hallway near his flat thick with smoke and his next door neighbour told him there was a fire and to get out as soon as possible.

He added: “I felt my life was in danger. I felt quite scared.”


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