Teen flees as blaze hits Harrogate home

NADV 1408271AM1 The fire damaged building on Scargill Road.(1408271AM1)
NADV 1408271AM1 The fire damaged building on Scargill Road.(1408271AM1)

Detectives are investigating a suspicious fire which ripped through a house in Harrogate as a young woman slept upstairs.

The 19-year-old escaped the flames but part of the house on Scargill Road was destroyed in the blaze in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Police, who have said they are treating the fire as suspicious, cordoned off the area and searched the quiet cul-de-sac as they tried to determine what happened.

And while nobody was seriously hurt in the fire, those who live there are still trying to come to terms with what happened.

“I’m just in shock,” said terrified teenager Magda Borysiuk as she returned to pick up clothes from the wreck of her home.

“I didn’t know what was happening. When I woke up there was fire down the stairs... there were huge dark clouds from this fire.

“I was alone. I was in my underwear and just ran outside.

“I wasn’t thinking, I just tried to save my life.”

The young Polish girl had only last week moved into the shared house where she was renting one of four rooms.

“I don’t know how the fire started,” she said. “When I ran downstairs the front door was open, so someone could have come in.

“That open door probably saved my life.”

The fire took hold shortly before 3am on Sunday morning, police and firefighters called to the scene by anxious neighbours who woke to shouting and screaming.

“The house was just full of flames,” said neighbours. “It was black with smoke.”

Some residents said there had been a party earlier in the night, which had spiralled out of control when party-goers were asked to keep it down.

“All you could see was the flashing lights from the police, all we heard was screaming, and someone shouting,” they said.

Magda, after escaping the smoke and flames, had thought at first her flatmate was still trapped inside. She was shouting and banging on the door when neighbours Ben Hargreaves and Carl Cervi, seeing the rising flames, came to her rescue.

“We couldn’t see, we couldn’t breath,” said Ben. “Everybody said you shouldn’t go, but we didn’t even think. We thought there were people in there and we had to get them out. We thought there would be fatalities. Any longer and I hate to have thought what could have happened.”

Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire and paramedics took a 24-year-old man to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

Police and fire investigators returned to the scene later on Sunday morning, examining the building and searching hedges and bins in the quiet cul-de-sac.

“Thankfully neither of the occupants of the flat were seriously injured as a result of this fire,” said Det Sgt Alan Browne, of Harrogate CID, urging witnesses to come forward.

“However, the consequences could have been far worse. If you have any information which could help my investigation I urge you to come forward and contact the police straight away.”

l Two men, 33 and 26, both from Harrogate, have been arrested in connection with the incident. They have now been released on bail as enquiries continue.