A man has told a court he saw a blanket catch fire in the kitchen of a bungalow on the night a fatal blaze broke out inside a wardrobe in the children’s bedroom.
Lloyd Wall was in the kitchen of the property in Lytham Road, Freckleton, when another guest, Chloe Marshall pointed out the Dora the Explorer blanket had caught on a candle.
Mr Wall said the corner of the blanket was smouldering so he took it and stamped on it, leaving it on the floor in the kitchen.
He then said he went upstairs and saw Dyson Allen, 19, alone in Andrew Smith’s bedroom, kneeling on the floor.
He told Preston Crown Court: “He didn’t really seem sober but I couldn’t really tell what was wrong with him.
“I was aware that he had been drinking and smoking cannabis.
“When he was knelt down he couldn’t really keep straight and his eyes seemed a bit wonky.”
Mr Wall saidhe went back downstairs and spoke to Chloe. Michelle Smith was talking to her son Reece in a downstairs bedroom, another guest Rogan Jones was asleep on the sofa in the living room.
A number of other people who were celebrating Michelle’s birthday on January 7 lastyear had gone to a nearby off-licence, but Mr Wall said he did not drink or take drugs and was sober on the night of the fire.
He told the court: “There was a loud bang. It was more or less simultaneous with the lights going out. Chloe began screaming.
“About 30 or 40 seconds later Dyson came running downstairs, shouting ‘fire’.”
He said he saw Reece go upstairs, and followed, with Allen.
The three men tried to kick open the door to the bedroom where twins Holly and Ella, four, and baby Jordan, two, slept. He said: “Smoke was coming under the door at quite a rate and I could see a glimmer under the door, like a light.”
Mr Wall said he put his jacket over his face and tried to kick the door but the smoke became too much for him and he and Allen went outside.
Reece Smith, 19, died in the blaze along with his three younger siblings. Allen, of no fixed address, denies their murder and manslaughter.