Young boy dies following house blaze

The scene of the tragic incident
The scene of the tragic incident

A four-year-old boy has died after being rescued from a house blaze by firefighters.

The child was in an upstairs bedroom of the property in Alltwen, near Pontardawe, South Wales, along with a three-year-old boy when the fire broke out early on Wednesday.

Four firefighters went into the burning building, a two-storey semi-detached house, and managed to rescue the two boys, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said.

The victim's mother raised the alarm at 1.40am and, when fire crews arrived, she was outside with her six-year-old daughter as neighbours tried to get in to help the stranded children.

The woman, who is believed to be in her 20s, and the two surviving youngsters were taken to hospital suffering from suspected smoke inhalation.

Tributes outside the home where the fire took place

Chris Margetts, senior operations manager for the fire service, described the blaze as "very severe".

He said: "When we got there, the mother and six-year-old daughter were out of the property and two young children were still inside.

"Crews went in with breathing apparatus and rescued the children - a three-year-old boy and four-year-old boy. Unfortunately the four-year-old did not make it.

"It was a fully developed fire and it was quite hot and challenging.

"It was a very confusing scene - when the crews got there there were other guys, neighbours, trying to get in to the property to effect a rescue.

"The reality of the situation was crews concentrated on search and rescue and I'm very proud of the bravery and professionalism of the firefighters.

"The thoughts and sympathies of the fire service are with the family and the community of Alltwen at this tragic time. It's a very close-knit community and we will have specialist teams working to support them."

Three fire engines, one each from Pontardawe, Morriston and Neath, attended the scene.

Mr Margetts said the fire service and South Wales Police were investigating the cause of the blaze.

He added that he believed smoke detectors may have raised the alarm and urged home-owners to check them regularly.

A South Wales Police spokesman appealed for witnesses and said: "Police and fire officers in Neath are investigating a house fire which was reported at around 1.40am this morning at an address on Lon Tanyrallt in Pontardawe.

"Several occupants of the property were taken to hospital. Sadly a four-year-old boy died at the scene. HM Coroner has been informed."

A spokesman for the Welsh Ambulance Service said a paramedic in a rapid response car and four ambulances were sent to the scene and the survivors were taken to Swansea's Morriston Hospital.

Visibly shocked neighbours stood in the street with their hands over their mouths, trying to make sense of the tragedy.

One woman was consoled by a police officer as she laid a floral tribute at the scene along with two teddy bears.

A card left with some flowers said: "To Jack. So sad to hear you are sadly gone. Harry will miss you, seeing you smile and playing with you at school. Gone too young."