Dramatic account of how neighbour - ‘I’m proud to call a friend’- rushed back into blazing house to rescue family from Wisbech home

A one-year-old child has suffered serious injuries following a house fire in Wisbech this morning.

A one-year-old child has suffered serious injuries following a house fire in Wisbech this morning. - Credit: Archant

David Harwin has described how his neighbour and friend went back into a burning house to rescue his family and young children.

A one-year-old child has suffered serious injuries following a house fire in Wisbech this morning.

A one-year-old child has suffered serious injuries following a house fire in Wisbech this morning. - Credit: Archant

Mr Harwin lives next to the family who have been by the bedside of their one-year-old baby seriously injured in last Saturday’s blaze on a Wisbech housing estate.

He praised his neighbour who “went into to the burning house, risking his own life and suffering injuries himself. Yes, I know we all say we would run into a burning building but this man has actually done it.

“I’m proud to call him a friend.”

Throughout the week donations and cash have poured into support the family following the blaze at their Lime Avenue home.

A one-year-old child has suffered serious injuries following a house fire in Wisbech this morning.

A one-year-old child has suffered serious injuries following a house fire in Wisbech this morning. - Credit: Archant


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It has been a traumatic week for the family. Their older children, aged two, four and seven, escaped relatively unscathed, and have been looked after by an aunt. Their parents, however, have been at the bedside of their year-old baby.

He was seriously injured, first being taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn before being transferred to Broomfields Hospital, in Chelmsford, in Essex, that has a specialist burns unit.

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In the meantime, donations have flooded in to the school attended by the older children and money totalling more than £1,000 pledged to help them get back on their feet.

A local firm has donated furniture, Tesco have offered to kit the boys out with new school uniform and Wisbech Lions have offered to help re-decorate their rented home.

A one-year-old child has suffered serious injuries following a house fire in Wisbech this morning.

A one-year-old child has suffered serious injuries following a house fire in Wisbech this morning. - Credit: Archant

Orchards Primary School head teacher Nicola Parker, who put a small message on the school website following the fire, said: “I asked if anybody could bring items into school on Monday and expected a few bits of clothing and maybe some toys from our parents.

“I didn’t expect to receive such an outpouring of support from so many - some as far away as Norfolk. The pledges are amazing.

“This proves how integrated this community is, look at all of this support.

“Here we have a family in need and other families have dug deep, it is heart warming.”

Donations include clothing, bedding, toys, colouring books and shoes.

Mrs Parker put out her message after seeing a call for help from Hayley Ogden who posted it onto a Wisbech Facebook group.

A day later the post was shared more than 400 times and has been seen by 19,000 people, Mrs Parker said.

The school is also pitching in with fund raising and a cake stall this week raised £150 for the family.

Earlier this week police reported that about 20 cannabis plants found in the attic of the fire damaged house but emphasised the find was not connected to the blaze.

A spokesman said: “The matter is being investigated.”

Hundreds took to social media to vent their anger that discovery of cannabis plants had been revealed by police.

Nathan Boness said: “These people are really good friends of mine and I think enough has gone on without people slagging them down.

“So to those people- grow up and get a life.”

Louise Goodrum revealed on social media she was a relative and was angry at “negative comments” posted following news of the cannabis find.

She was angry that “people are trying to make out they are some sort of monster parents and God knows what else. The fire was an accident and nothing to do with growing weed.

She said her nephew “is very poorly in hospital” and she was critical of comments “slandering my family when they need to focus on their little boy.”

Councillor Martin Curtis, a former leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said the cannabis find detracted from the main thrust of the story.

He said even if it was true plants had been found “so what? It doesn’t change a thing. “They won’t be the first people to smoke a bit of cannabis, they won’t be the last.

“It’s not something I do, or like, but I am not going to condemn someone for that. “There are far more important things to judge people about. Nor should the changed circumstances be a reason to deny a family compassion when they need it.

“I think the compassion that was quite rightly shown to this family is astonishing and fantastic, it says a huge amount that is positive about the school those children go to and about the community they live in. That compassion was needed irrespective of these circumstances.”

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