Friends vow to raise cash for funerals of children killed in fire
THE heartbreaking deaths of five Derby children in a house fire have prompted friends to say they want to start a fund to help the stricken family.
Jade, 10, John, nine, Jack, seven, Jessie, six, and Jaydon, five, were killed as a blaze ripped through their Allenton home in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Their 13-year-old brother, Dwayne was last night in a critical condition in hospital in Birmingham with his parents by his bedside.
Yesterday morning, firefighters and neighbours struggled in vain to save the children from the blaze.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
A 28-year-old who was arrested in connection with the incident remained in police custody last night.
And yesterday afternoon a 38-year-old man from Derby was also arrested on suspicion of murder. He was being held last night.
Friends have told of a desperate struggle to smash the windows of the burning house, led by the children's father Mick Philpott.
Among them was the son of Daniel Stevenson, who lives a few houses down from the Philpott home in Victory Road.
Mr Stevenson, 44, said his son was a family friend to the Philpott's had been left "devastated".
Now he has come up with the idea of a community fund to help the family.
He said he hoped the fund would raise enough cash to cover the cost of five funerals.
Mr Stevenson said Mr Philpott had always been willing to help local people and that he hoped residents would now do the same for him.
He said: "If you were a neighbour of Mick's you would see how much he loved his kids and how devoted he was to them – the sort of dedication and devotion he had was fantastic.
"He's been in this community all this time and his kids are so well brought up and polite.
"I hope we can do something for them.
"We want to get 100% behind them."
Mr Stevenson pointed out that funerals can cost as much as £4,000 so it would be brilliant if a fund could raise five times that.
He said: "If he had that sort of money I'm sure he would have put down a deposit on a house for his family."
Mr Stevenson said he would wait for the go-ahead from Mr Philpott but that he hoped details of how the fund could work would be drawn up in the next few days.
And the idea already has the backing of local councillors and the family's priest.
Among those to get behind the plan was Father Alan Burbidge at St George's Catholic Church, Village Street, which the Philpott's attend.
His children took holy communion at the church.
Father Burbidge said the collection was a "good idea" and the church could be one place where funds could be gathered.
He said: "That's the nature of a close community like this. Everyone pulls together at times like this.
"The fund would be supported by the church. The family have to pay for the expenses and funeral costs."
Derby city councillor Baggy Shanker, who represents Sinfin ward, of which Victory Road is a part, said he believed everyone in the community would support the idea.
Despite the fund not yet being up and running, people have already contacted the Derby Telegraph asking where they can make donations to the family.
Terence Prater, 65, of Keswick Avenue, Sunny Hill, said he and his wife wanted to help the Philpotts.
He said: "I feel so sorry for the family. Nobody deserves this.
"How could anyone see what has happened here and not want to help?"
Meanwhile a friend of Mr Philpott, Derek Rollands, 41, of Victory Road, said he had also heard about the desperate battle to save the children which Mr Stevenson's son was involved in.
Mr Rollands said he understood he had been trying to get into the blazing house to get to the children.
He said: "I was told he was there this morning smashing the windows of the conservatory round the back of the house to try to get in.
"His neighbours were helping him.
"The family are really well known round here so this will affect the whole community."
Last night, councillors and representatives from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, the police and Derby Homes held an emergency meeting at the community centre, in Cotton Lane, to discuss the tragedy.
Mr Shanker, who was among the councillors, said about 25 people attended the hour-long event and he felt they were reassured by it.
He said: "They were talking to the community about what had happened and reassuring residents there will be a continued police presence over the next few days.
"They asked people with concerns to get in touch with them, offered fire checks to anyone who wanted them and made a commitment to have another meeting if people felt it was needed.
"People are still coming round to the news, which was shocking and devastating, but I think the meeting did alleviate some concerns."
MORE ON THE TRAGEDY