Mum fears fire which destroyed disabled son's toys was deliberate

Toys belonging to a disabled three-year-old boy were destroyed in a suspicious fire at his family home.

Saturday, 5th August 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 1:13 pm
Ellis with his parents at home
Ellis with his parents at home

Emma Jay Gawthorpe and her partner Matthew Rogers only moved into their new home in Portsmouth Close, Cleveleys last month.

They had been using a shed at the side of the property to store toys for son Ellis who has cerebral palsy and is almost completely blind.

On Monday the shed and its content were completely destroyed in a fire which police believe may have been started deliberately.

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Aftermath of fire at Emma Jay-Gawthorpe's home

Emma 24, said: “We downsized when we moved so we couldn’t fit all of Ellis’ things in the house.

“We had his swivel car seat in there, his electric car and his trike.

“It’s all been destroyed.

“I can’t even take my little boy to the park now because we’ve lost his trike.

Aftermath of fire at Emma Jay-Gawthorpe's home

“I just hope we can get him back out and about soon.”

The family were inside the house when the fire started on Monday evening.

Emma spoke about the moment a neighbour raised the alarm at around 10.30pm.

She said: “We were in the house. Ellis has sleep medication but he wasn’t on it on Monday so we were all still up.

“All of a sudden I heard banging on the window and on the door.

“One of the neighbours was shouting the house was on fire. The first thing I did was go and look and I could see the shed was burning.

“The fire was going really high.

“I ran out and moved the car because I didn’t want that going up, I called the fire brigade, ran around closing the windows and then the police arrived.”

Officers on patrol had spotted the blaze and rushed to the house.

Emma said: “They’d been driving down Amounderness Way and seen the flames.

“I think they thought it was a bonfire or something.

“They came round and evacuated us and the neighbours, the fire brigade came and put it out, but straight away you could see the shed was gone.”

The blaze completely destroyed the shed and its contents and left scorching on the side of the family’s house.

Emma, who is a full time carer for Ellis, said: “We are lucky it didn’t spread.

“Ellis has a specialist medical bed inside. One of the window frames was damaged but I think we were fortunate.

“At the moment we just don’t know how it started, that’s why there is a suspicion it might have been done on purpose.”

News of the blaze spread on social media and a crowdfunding effort has been started to replace Ellis’ toys.

Emma said: “Things like sensory equipment aren’t cheap.

“Ellis is almost completely blind and he’s fed with a pump.

“Little things can make a big difference for him.

“He’s been in the hospice since the fire, hopefully he won’t be too upset.”

Police confirmed they are investigating the blaze.

Anyone with information should call 101 quoting log 1496 of Monday July 31.

To donate to the appeal to support Ellis