Llangammarch Wells fire: Multiple deaths probe continues

 Aerial footage of the house shows the devastation caused by the blaze

Three children aged 13, 12 and 10 escaped the blaze at the farmhouse in Llangammarch Wells, Powys, in the early hours of Monday raising the alarm.

Police said they could not identify the deceased or confirm numbers due to the “severity of damage”.

One of those missing has been named locally as David Cuthbertson.

Mr Cuthbertson, a former builder who is believed to be in his sixties, lived at the rented house with several of his children who attended the local primary and secondary schools.

“He clearly was a devoted father, the children were his life,” said local councillor and school governor Tim Van-Rees.

Mr Van-Rees said he had been in touch with social services to help the surviving children, and support was being put in place in schools to help pupils deal with the tragedy.

“There will be vacant places on school buses, several vacant places… we need to make sure that all local services do their best to support children and the community.”

an aerial view of the house shows the devastation caused by the fire

Image captionThe fire gutted the entire building

“This is a tragedy which is frankly unprecedented,” he said.

“It is going to take some time for the community to come to terms with it.”

The three children who escaped were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Richard Lewis, Ch Supt of Dyfed-Powys Police said: “Specialist scientists and fire investigators are still assessing the scene and at this time we are treating the cause of the fire as unexplained.”

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Nic North, BBC Wales News in Llangammarch Wells

A map showing the location of Llangammarch WellsImage copyright: GOOGLE/BBC

Llangammarch Wells is in shock as it awaits official confirmation of what many believe they already know.

Few in this tightly-knit community are in any doubt about the identity of those who perished in the midnight blaze at the farmhouse.

On Monday, the village of less than 500 people woke to a thick fog that concealed the smoke still billowing from the wrecked building high on the side of a valley above the village.

But as word of the tragedy spread, the grief felt at the loss of so many members of such a well-loved family was plain to see.

Most were too stunned to speak of the blaze and the lives it has ended.

Those with words to share told only of a father who loved his children.

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Tributes at the sceneImage copyright: WALES NEWS SERVICE

Neighbour Ron Birchall, 73, described Mr Cuthbertson as a “great guy” who “loved his kids”.

Local Conservative MP Chris Davies said the community was “devastated” by tragedy and that the family were “well known in the community”.

He said the community had come together in the aftermath of the fire, adding: “The affects of this will be felt for many years to come in Llangammarch.”

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Llangammarch Wells fire: As it happened

Village mourns ‘unprecedented’ tragedy
  • 00:15 GMT, Monday 30 October: Mid and West Wales fire service is called to a property fire in Llangammarch Wells, in Powys. The blaze was already “well-developed”, but three children aged 13, 12 and 10 managed to escape. The Welsh Ambulance Service send five Hazardous Area Response Team vehicles, four crews in emergency ambulances and one rapid response vehicle. Dyfed-Powys Police also attend.
  • 03:00: Brecon Mountain Rescue Team is called to the scene to help with a search of open ground around the property.
  • 12:00: It emerges that a number of fatalities are feared following the blaze. A joint statement from the fire service and police states a number of people are still unaccounted for. Four fire crews still at the scene. Specialist scientists and fire investigators continue to assess the scene.
  • 16:00: Community councillor Tim Van-Rees says one of the children from the house raised the alarm. He says there will be an emergency meeting of the council to see what can be done for the family.
  • 17:00: A press conference is held at Llandrindod Wells Police Station. Chief Supt Richard Lewis says there are potentially a number of causalities, but adds: “There’s nobody able to give us a definitive answer as to who may or may not have been present during the tragedy.”
  • 20:30: One of the people feared killed in the fire is named locally as David Cuthbertson, believed to be in his sixties.
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Local AM Kirsty Williams joined praise for emergency services and volunteer fire fighters who were first on the scene, saying they had done everything they could to save lives.

“They themselves are part of this community, they would have known, I’m sure, the family that was affected…It is just tragic they were not able to save more people,” she said.

A fundraising page set up to help the family has raised more than £3,000 – more than double its £1,000 target – in less than 12 hours.

Source: BBC News

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