A grandmother of four siblings who died in a house fire has broken her silence to thank the Fylde coast for its “overwhelming support” for her heartbroken family.
Christine Smith lost her grandson Reece, 19, twin granddaughters Holly and Ella, four, and her two-year-old baby grandson Jordan when killer Dyson Allen, 19, set fire to items of clothing hanging in a wardrobe in the youngest children’s bedroom on January 7, 2012.
Speaking to The Gazette, Christine, of North Clifton Street, Lytham, said: “On behalf of myself, my daughter Michelle and Reece’s dad Martin I want to say a big thank-you to the people of the Fylde coast for their support over the last 20 months.
“The messages we have received have been a huge comfort and will be remembered for a long time.
“We also want to say thank you to all the emergency services who attended and especially the officers from the forensic teams and police liaison for their inspirational efforts.”
On the night of the fire the children’s mother Michelle, 37, had been having a house party at the family home on Lytham Road, Freckleton, to celebrate her 36th birthday.
The dormer bungalow, which had been recently renovated, had been inherited by Michelle’s mother.
But as Michelle’s party was in full flow, Allen, a former Lytham St Annes High School pupil, then 18, of no fixed address, was starting the fire.
Holly, Ella and Jordan had all been asleep in the same upstairs bedroom, just yards away from where the fire was started.
After the fire was discovered, brave Reece ran back into the house to try to save his brother and sisters before fire crews arrived.
He rushed up the stairs, followed by Lloyd Wall and Dyson Allen. But the smoke was too thick. And as Reece collapsed, Allen and Lloyd Wall had run to a neighbour’s house to raise the alarm.
Christine said: “It has been really awful but the support we have been shown by the people of Lytham and Freckleton has been so important to my whole family.
“The children (in the family) are dealing with it better than us adults as they have school to take their minds of things.”
Allen was found guilty of manslaughter after a trial. He was, last week, jailed for life and told he must serve a minimum of 10 years before he is eligible to apply for parole.