‘Hero’ neighbours reveal how they ‘caught children jumping off balcony’ as family fled flat fire that killed boy, 11 | The Sun

HERO neighbours say they caught kids who hurled themselves out of a burning building in a horror that left one boy dead.

Emergency services raced to the second-floor flat blaze on Stern Close in Barking, East London, at around 3.25am on Tuesday.

Tragically, an 11-year-old boy – believed to be a year seven pupil at the local secondary school – was pronounced dead at the scene.

Neighbour Gediminas Radzeviaus, 39, woke up to the blaring fire alarm before catching two kids who jumped off a balcony as a fire ravaged their flat.

Recalling the horror, the dad-of-two, who lives opposite the stricken apartment, told The Sun there was no answer when he frantically knocked the door.

Once he'd evacuated his own brood outside, Gediminas saw three people shouting for help from the balcony of the burning flat.

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He rushed to the grass below and braced himself to catch the women and children trapped inside.

The painter & decorator, a resident of the block for two years, said: "When the mother saw I was there and trying to catch them, she dropped them down to me.

“I caught the little girl first and then a boy.

“A woman jumped and fell on me and then another woman fell on the grass. There were two women, one older and one younger.

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“When these ladies jumped I tried to keep their heads and necks safe.

“I could only see four people from the window. I didn’t see the other boy. My wife can't stop crying."

Gediminas revealed his two sons, 11 and 13, used to play with the young boy who tragically died.


His lads and other neighbours have called the dad a "hero".

One neighbour added: “He’s a hero. He saved their lives. He needs praising for what he did because he undoubtedly saved them.”

But Gediminas insists: "I don’t feel like a hero, I was just thinking about my own boys."

Fire crews managed to put out the blaze in the three-bed flat.

Two adults and two kids were taken to hospital, none in a life threatening condition.

But residents in the community have been stunned by the tragedy – with one floral tribute reading: "You are in our thoughts and prayers."

Daniel Lopez, 25, lives in the next door flat to the fire described the youngster – who has not been named – as a "nice, playful kid".

Noting his good relationship with the family, he added: "He [the boy] was always very respectful. He always called my mum auntie when she came.

"They were a very hard working family."

We used to see the kids playing games or watching TV in their lounge because their window is right opposite ours

A friend of the youngster described him as a “happy” boy who enjoyed playing football and Roblox with his friends.

Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said she would regularly see the family passing by.

The mum-of-two, who lives in a neighbouring block, said: “We used to see the kids playing games or watching TV in their lounge because their window is right opposite ours.

“I’m just lost for words at the moment. It’s just so sad.”

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "Met Police, in consultation with the London Fire Brigade, are investigating the cause of the fire in Barking, East London.

"Enquiries continue, but at this this early stage, the fire does not appear to be suspicious."

London Fire Brigade spokesperson added: "A child has sadly died following a flat fire on Stern Close in Barking.

"A three-roomed flat on the second floor of the building was destroyed by fire.

"Two adults and two children left the flat before firefighters arrived and were taken to hospital.

"Another man was treated at the incident by London Ambulance Service crews. Sadly, a child was pronounced dead at the scene.

"The Brigade was called at 3.25am and the incident was over for firefighters by 5.18am.

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"Fire engines and around 40 firefighters from Barking, East Ham and surrounding fire stations were in attendance."

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