A brave little girl who survived a horror blaze which claimed the life of her mum and three others tried in vain to save them, an inquest heard.
Tia James, aged seven, had been awake when fire ripped through her home, and tried to alert mum Claire James, 27, her mother’s friend Josie Leighton, 32, and Josie’s young sons Jordan and Tyler Green, aged 12 and nine.
Tia told police she tried guiding one of the boys downstairs, but nobody else in the burning, smoke-filled house in Williamthorpe Road, North Wingfield, managed to escape, Chesterfield Coroner’s Court heard.
All four victims died from smoke inhalation.
Derbyshire’s Assistant Coroner James Newman said: “Tia was woken by something, possibly an alarm, and by smelling something, and she remembers trying to wake Tyler and Jordan.
“She remembers trying to wake Josie and Claire. Her recollection is that Josie and Claire were awake as she remembers Josie saying, ‘Let’s go downstairs’.”
The smoke-blackened youngster told police at the time that she got outside and tried to rouse neighbours - but she got no response and was found by firefighters.
Neighbour Ian Shaw told the hearing he had heard a little girl shouting ‘mum’ three times after he had been woken by one of his dogs.
He added: “In hindsight I should have gone down and had a look and I cannot apologise enough.
“If I had been there I would have broken the door down.”
Another neighbour, Sarah Hempshall, was woken by banging and later smelled smoke, but neither she nor her partner raised the alarm until hours later.
The couple had clashed with Ms James in the past over noise coming from the property late at night, and thought ‘she was at it again’.
A fire service investigation established that an electrical fault in the floorboard space between the ground floor and the first floor of the property had sparked the blaze.
Verdicts of accidental death were recorded.