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12-year-old rescues family from fire

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12-year-old rescues family from fire

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities

Fire Fire

A schoolgirl saved her family from a devastating fire at their social home.

Courtney Ratcliffe, 12, led her four sisters out of the house and into the garden before taking them to a neighbour's property.

Fire chiefs have praised the youngster’s heroic actions.

And staff from Northwards Housing, which manages the home, and members of the community have rallied to help the family who lost all their belongings in the flames.

The blaze started when a television caught fire in one of the bedrooms. Courtney said: "The fire alarm was going off, my brother went to see why and he came running down the stairs and said there was a fire.

"I took my little sisters out the back and brought them around the front to a neighbour's house. It was just instinctive."

The blaze started when a television caught fire in one of the bedrooms. Courtney said: "The fire alarm was going off, my brother went to see why and he came running down the stairs and said there was a fire.

"I took my little sisters out the back and brought them around the front to a neighbour's house. It was just instinctive."

The alarm was fitted into the property by Northwards as part of the Decent Homes programme in 2008. Courtney and her siblings all escaped the fire unharmed along with their grandparents and cousin who were in the garden.

Courtney’s mum Sarah, who was having a driving lesson when the fire started, said: “I'm just so proud of what Courtney did. She got her sisters and just got out of there.

“The neighbours have all been really good. They've really rallied round – taken all my belongings in and others have given me a pram and clothes for the baby."

Within two hours of the emergency, Northwards found the family temporary accommodation. They managed to secure a new bed for each family member (kindly donated by Manchester City Council’s Furniture Team) and staff members generously donated duvets, pillows, cushions and bedding sheets to help them sleep comfortably.

Northwards' director of neighbourhood services, Mike Stevens, said: "What Courtney did is amazing. It's frightening to think what could've happened if there hadn't been a working smoke alarm and if Courtney hadn't reacted in the way she did.”

Pictured: Courtney (centre) and her family.

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