Young brothers were ‘heroes’

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A mum left homeless by a fierce fatal blaze has spoken of her pride in her three sons who tried to save their neighbour as his home went up in flames.

Janet Thornton, aged 50, said she is the ‘proudest mum in the world’ after her sons dialled 999 and used a garden hose to try fight the fire raging next door on Poplar Avenue, Beighton, Sheffield.

While 12-year-old Sam dialled 999 and spoke to control room operators, his brothers Jamie, 15, and Thomas, 18, climbed on to the roof of their extension and turned a hose on the flames.

Firefighters who entered the house, which was destroyed, found the body of Richard Hobson slumped in a bedroom. His mum Kathleen, 88, was sobbing outside.

Station Officer Simon Rodgers said the boys’ actions had been ‘admirable’.

“The young boy who dialled 999 did everything right,” he said. “He did not struggle with the pressure he must have been under, and he gave very detailed, clear and succinct details.

“The boys who used the hose did what you’d hope everyone would do, if safe to do so - helping others in need.”

Janet, whose own home suffered severe smoke and water damage, said she was devastated by Richard’s death - but ‘so proud’ of her boys.

“I am the proudest mum in the world, I truly am,” she said. “They did everything they possibly could to help Richard. They wouldn’t have thought of the risk to themselves, they would just have wanted to help.”

Janet and the boys are currently living with her ex-husband until repairs to their home are carried out.

“We lost everything, but at least we still have our lives,” she said. “I feel desperately sorry for Kathleen, who not only lost her home and all she owned but her son too.”

Firefighters plan to visit hundreds of homes in Beighton following the fire and have already spoken to residents about reducing fire risks and fitting smoke alarms.

Station Officer Rodgers said it was tragic there were no smoke alarms in the house Richard, in his 60s, shared with his mum and sister.