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Man races into burning flat

PUBLISHED: 15:08 11 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:56 14 July 2010

Smoke billows out of the flat window  in Attleborough.

Smoke billows out of the flat window in Attleborough.

A mother yesterday told how her partner raced into a blazing flat to rescue her children, not realising that they had already escaped.

Eunice Martins is the proprietor of the Norfolk Fried Chicken restaurant in Exchange Street, Attleborough, and was downstairs tidying up when her nine-year-old daughter Jessica and son Leo, 12, raised the alarm.

A mother yesterday told how her partner raced into a blazing flat to rescue her children, not realising that they had already escaped.

Eunice Martins is the proprietor of the Norfolk Fried Chicken restaurant in Exchange Street, Attleborough, and was downstairs tidying up when her nine-year-old daughter Jessica and son Leo, 12, raised the alarm.

The youngsters were in the family's first floor flat, above the restaurant, when fire broke out in one of the bedrooms at about 10.20pm on Tuesday, and rapidly took hold. It was only by chance they were not fast asleep at the time, their mother said.

“The children just came downstairs and said: 'Mum, there's fire, there's fire'. I just told them 'Get out! Get out!' Then I went outside and ran to my partner Ali - he was working in the kebab shop opposite, as we own both shops. He just heard me say there's a fire, and didn't see the children. He ran upstairs and was looking for them, and he couldn't find them,” she explained.

By this time dense, acrid smoke was filling the building.

Once he had made sure the family was safe, Ms Martin's partner, Ali Acun, grabbed a fire extinguisher and went back into the flat. He was attempting to put out the blaze as the fire brigade arrived.

“It was so lucky, because at that time of night the children are usually already asleep,” Ms Martin said.

Leo has lost all his possessions. Other family belongings have suffered smoke damage and may have to be thrown out.

“Everything of my son's was lost, his school clothes, normal clothes, his school stuff, toys, apart from what he had on. Everything else we have smells of smoke so I don't know if we can save it,” she added.

Mr Acun was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital by ambulance, where he was treated for smoke inhalation.

Fire service spokesman Martin Barsby said the children had raised the alarm, adding that the crews also did “a great job” to stop the fire spreading.

The call was received at 10.23pm and one crew from Attleborough and two from Wymondham were sent. It is thought an electrical fault may have caused the fire. .

Two neighbouring Exchange Street properties, Taylor's Bakers and the Feline Care charity shop, also suffered smoke damage and were closed for business yesterday. Both are hoping to open today.

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