1. ITV Report

Neighbour 'tried to rescue youngster' from Darlington fire

The scene of the fire in Esk Road. Photo: ITV News, Tyne Tees

A neighbour has described how she tried to rescue a 7-year-old girl from a fire at her home in Darlington.

The youngster remains in a critical condition tonight.

Fire crews were called to a house on Esk Road at 1.46pm on Saturday.

As those inside fled, they realised a little girl had been trapped inside in an upstairs bedroom.

Their shouts were heard next door by Kath Wilkinson.

Basically I was putting the decorations up and then I heard a commotion on the front.

I said 'have you got all the children out, is everybody out of the house?'

I went out the back, put the ladders against the fence, climbed over, opened the back door and just crawled through the kitchen on my hands and knees, shouting her name, saying 'It's Kath, come to me darling, get on your knees and come to me', but there was no noise, there was nothing, the smoke was very thick that's what forced me back out the door, it was horrendous, I just couldn't get the little bairn out.

– Kath Wilkinson

Fire crews arrived soon after, but already the house was well ablaze.

Credit: ITV News, Tyne Tees

There were big flames coming out, it was something from a horror movie, absolutely it was terrible. If there was somebody in the middle of that smoke, you couldn't have seen them, it was terrible.

– Kath Wilkinson

Fire fighters managed to find the seven year old girl and bring her out of the house. She was taken to James Cook hospital in Middlesbrough before being transferred to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle where she's still in a critical condition.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated but police say early enquiries suggest this was not a deliberate act.

Neighbours say their thoughts and prayers are with the little girl in hospital.