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Boy, 10, saves sister from caravan fire in Prixford

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: October 11, 2012

  • NOTHING LEFT: The remains of the caravan which burnt to the ground.

  • BURNT OUT: The wreck of the second caravan after the fire.

  • FAMILY: Sian, Sonda, Mike, Jared and Amy Brokenshire.

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A QUICK-thinking 10-year-old boy saved his sister’s life when the caravan his family were living in went up in flames.

Jared Brokenshire put the skills he learnt at Braunton Sea Scouts into action when the family’s caravan burst into flames in Prixford on Sunday, September 30.

The pyjama-clad youngster was playing on the computer in an adjacent caravan with his sister Amy, 3, when the power went off at around 12.15pm.

Jared, who attends Southmead Primary School in Braunton, said: “The power went off and there was a whistling noise.

“I looked out the window because I was curious and I saw smoke, lots of smoke. I told Amy to leave the computer, put her shoes on and told her we needed to see daddy.”

The youngsters ran down the garden to the family-of-five’s house where dad Mike, an engineer, was inside working on renovating the property.

The family had been living in two caravans, which were connected with an awning, at the top of the garden while they renovated their home.

Mike, 45, said he knew something was wrong when he heard Amy shrieking, “like she had never shrieked before”.

He said: “Our neighbours had come out into the road and one of them took Jared and Amy out of harm’s way

“I went up the garden to see what was going on. Smoke was pouring out of one of the caravans. There was a gas barbecue under the awnings and I got that out and removed the gas bottle and dragged them down to the garden.”

A neighbour phoned 999 and within minutes two fire engines from Barnstaple were at the scene tackling the blaze, which by this time had engulfed both of the caravans.

Mike then phoned his wife Sonda, 41, who was shopping in Barnstaple with their eldest daughter, Sian, 11, to tell her they “had lost the caravans”.

Sonda raced home to find Mike being treated by paramedics for burns to his head and neck. He later took himself to A&E at North Devon District Hospital where he received further treatment for his minor burns.

Sonda and Mike said they have been overwhelmed by the help and support shown by the local community.

Having lost all their day-to-day possessions in the fire, the family have received bags and bags of clothes, toys, bedding and home-cooked meals.

The night of the fire, their next-door neighbours put them up for the night before they were offered a flat above the now closed Ring O’ Bells pub, where they can stay while they get themselves sorted.

Sonda said: “People have been so generous. We are so, so grateful for what they’ve done to help and support us.”

Sonda said they owed a lot to Braunton Sea Scouts, where Jared has been a Cub for the last four years. She said the life skills he learnt at Cubs undoubtedly provoked his quick-thinking actions.

Sonda said: “We are indebted to them. They teach them such good life skills. Jared was an absolute star.

“We’ve lost possessions but they are replaceable. My children aren’t and we are thankful that we are still here.

“We’ve talked about the what-ifs a lot and had this been at night-time it could’ve been much worse.”

Mike said Jared’s actions had not only potentially saved lives but also prevented anybody getting hurt.

He said: “We are very proud of him.

“On the day he was calm and collected and it was only until it sunk in afterwards that he got emotional.

“He’s not only saved his own and Amy’s life he also prevented somebody else getting hurt because people were prepared to climb into the caravan to get them out.”

Jared said: “I was scared but knew I had to get me and Amy out and get help, so I stayed calm because that is what I had learnt at Cubs when they took us to Barnstaple fire station for our fire safety.”

The Brokenshires said they would be making a generous contribution to the fire service.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said the cause of the fire was accidental and blamed an electrical fault.

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  • Dawn1  |  October 11 2012, 11:39AM

    Wow what an amazing boy! Well done Jared. And Braunton Sea Scouts! And everyone who has come forward to help the family. It is so reassuring in these days of recession that people can still be so kind and generous.

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