Seven family members are feared dead after a fire tore through their farmhouse and burnt it to the ground while they slept. The inferno occurred at a rented home in Llangammarch Wells, Powys, Wales, where a couple lived with their eight children. Authorities confirm that three of the five children (ages 13, 12, and 10) were able to escape the blaze when the fire spread in the early morning.
The roof of the farmhouse had completely caved in, according to photos of the aftermath. Firefighters, police, and forensics scientists searched through the rubble, looking to locate the bodies of the seven missing family members: five children and the married couple.
Shortly after midnight, emergency services were called to the burning farmhouse.
Chief Inspector Martin Slevin said, “There are a number of people unaccounted for at this time and we can confirm that there are known to be fatalities.”
The total number of fatalities is currently unknown, according to a police spokesman. However, locals of the area fear that the couple of farmhouse and five of their children died in the blaze.
“Due to the severity of damage at the scene we are unable at this stage to identify any of the deceased or confirm numbers,” said Slevin.” Specialist scientists and fire investigators are still assessing the scene prior to further investigation.”
One neighbor said, “All I know is they had lots of kids and seemed like a big happy family. It is possible that one or two weren’t there because of the school holidays. But if all eight children were at home it’s too dreadful to think about.”
Another neighbor at a close-by caravan holiday park said, “I woke up at about 2am to get a glass of water and I could see the place was floodlit by police and emergency services. There were helicopters there a bit later. We’ve heard a number of people died.”
Chief Inspector Slevin said, “Upon arrival the house was ablaze and three children aged 13, 12 and 10 years were able to escape. They are being treated in hospital but do not have life threatening injuries. At this time we are treating the cause of the fire as unexplained.”
According to Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, the flame was fully-formed when firefighters arrived at the farmhouse. Four crews of emergency ambulances, Hazardous Area Response Team, and the Brecon Mountain Rescue team were sent to the scene of the blaze.
Kirsty Williams, AM for Brecon and Radnorshire, said, “This is devastating news in such a close-knit community. I’d like to express my deepest sympathies to those affected and thank the emergency services for their assistance.”