Mum and children died in house fire ‘started by fairy lights on Christmas tree’

A tragic house fire that killed a mother and her two young children on Saturday is speculated to have been started by fairy lights on a dried-out Christmas tree.

Described as "beautiful, inside and out", 33-year-old Justine Collison and her children Izzy, eight, and Harvey, five, all died in the devastating blaze on December 15.

Gavin Collison, 34, Justine’s husband, remains in a critical condition in hospital.

Justine’s mother, Diane, is understood to have been led to safety from the home in Collingham, Nottinghamshire.

The tragedy struck just 10 days before Christmas.

Little Harvey, who was rescued from the fire but later died in hospital, was due to perform in a Nativity play at school on Monday.

According to Lincolnshire Live, it’s been speculated that a dried out Christmas tree and ‘old fairy lights’ could have sparked the fire.

Neighbour Paul Norton and his son Elliott tried to break in through the back door when they spotted the a red "glow" coming from the Collison’s home on Saturday morning.

However, their attempts to get into to the property were unsuccessful and firefighters arrived shortly afterwards.

"I looked out of the landing window and I saw a glow from the house .

"It looked like the conservatory was on fire. There was lots of smoke. I shouted up to Elliot and we called the fire brigade straight away.

"We went to the front door and we were banging on the windows. Then we went round the back door."

The 57-year-old said there were no lights on in the property, but knew the family were home as their car was still on the drive.

He continued: "As we tried to get in the back door the first fire engine came.

"There was too much smoke and the door handles were hot.

"The firefighters started with hoses and went in with breathing apparatus. Then more fire appliances came.

"They were bringing out some people from the house by carrying them over their shoulders. The firemen were then giving them treatment.

"I am shocked and speechless about what has happened. You don’t expect it to happen at all."

Firefighters have said they’ve been left "totally devastated" after being called to the residence.

In a statement on Facebook, Collingham Fire Station said: "Words can’t begin to describe how we all feel following the tragic events in Collingham on Saturday.

"Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies are with the Collison family, their extended family, friends, neighbours and the entire community of Collingham as we try to come to terms with what has happened.

"One of the proudest things an on-call firefighter can do is to serve his or her own community, but when events like this occur it hits us hard.

"We are totally devastated, and we know that the healing process for the whole of our village will be long and difficult."

Messages of shock and condolence have poured in since the tragedy.

One friend wrote: "My beautiful best friend and her two beautiful children all taken in such awful circumstances.

"Gav is still fighting at present. I love you so much Justine, Izzy and Harvey."

Another friend posted: "Woken up in a sweat. Still can’t believe it’s true. Just can’t stop thinking about the awful news of Justine Collison and her children passing away.

"You never know when your last breath will be. She took life by the horns and lived it to the fullest, still nowhere near long enough.

"My head is blown my heart is heavy. Devastated for ALL the family that I grew up with that treasured her and her children so much.

"I’m constantly praying for you all. I have no words to say, just tears and lot of love to you all. So so sorry for your loss."

A Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said on Saturday that crews were called to the scene shortly after 7am.

A specific cause of the fire has not yet been publicly confirmed by authorities.

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