THE mother of a woman who lost her three young children in a devastating house fire that left her seriously ill has told an inquest that her daughter’s quality of life is so poor it may have been better if she hadn’t been rescued.
In the tragedy last November, William Beal, nine, Antony John Fothergill, five, and three-year-old Maddie Hudson perished in an inferno which tore through their four-bedroom, three-storey terraced house in Bridlington.
Their mum Samantha Hudson, 27, was rescued but suffered devastating brain damage as a result of being starved of oxygen. She is still hospitalised nearly five months on.
During the inquest into the young trio’s tragic deaths, Samantha’s mum Sharon, 49, had to be comforted by relatives as she described the terrible after-effects on her daughter.
Earlier, experienced paramedic Simon Leeson had choked back tears as he revealed the terrible scene that greeted him with all four casualties laid in the road having being carried from the burning building by firefighters.
Mr Leeson was the first paramedic on the scene and told the inquest in Hull how he found that the children were showing no signs of life but their mother had a pulse. He said: “There were flames coming out of the downstairs window and heavy smoke reaching to the roof.
“The adult was showing signs of life so out of the four patients I decided Samantha was the one to be seen first. The children were not showing signs of life, Samantha had a pulse and her chance of survival was greater of the four.
“She was taken away from the scene by ambulance and I moved along to the child closest to me and continued with basic life support.”
At the end of his evidence, Sharon asked him: “How long do you think she wasn’t breathing for? Because her quality of life now is no quality of life.”
Mr Leeson replied “I’m sorry I can’t answer that”, to which Sharon responded “How long was she starved of oxygen? She will never be Samantha again. It just seems to me she should never have been brought back.”
The hearing was then adjourned while weeping Sharon was comforted by family members.
The inquest heard how Samantha was sleeping on the middle storey of the house she had shared with her children for nearly a year when the fire broke out in the downstairs living room on November 11. The youngsters were all asleep in their individual bedrooms on the top floor.
Mum-of-five Sharon had earlier told the hearing how William was a “lovely, cuddly boy, very boisterous” while his younger brother Antony John – known as AJ – was a “tough little lad who could sulk for England” and liked to stick up for William.
Maddie “liked to dress up and enjoyed rough and tumble” with her brothers – and they all got on well together.
On the evening of November 11, Samantha had been “happy, dancing and singing” at a birthday party for her sister Hayley just a few hundred yards from her home.
Samantha’s brother looked after the three children while she then went on to meet some friends who were in town from Pontefract, the town where she had grown up. She then returned to her children at around 9pm and her brother left.
Paramedics received the first call to attend the fire at 11.53pm. Firefighters, paramedics and neighbours then tried desperately to revive the four.
Post-mortems on the children revealed they had not suffered any burns at all but had succumbed to the effects of smoke inhalation as they slept. All were taken to Scarborough Hospital where they were pronounced dead in the early hours of November 12.
Samantha, who was a smoker, spent months in hospital before being recently moved to a rehabilitation centre near Goole, where she continues to receive treatment. She was too ill to attend her children’s funeral.
The inquest is expected to last two days and will examine the cause of the blaze which gutted the family’s home.