Lancashire

Freckleton fire: Reece Smith, 19, was 'true hero'

Reece Smith and Martin Goulding
Image caption Mr Goulding, pictured with Reece, said he had lost his son and "best friend"

The father of a teenager who died while attempting to rescue his brothers and sisters from a house fire in Lancashire has described him as a "true hero".

Reece Smith, 19, was overcome by smoke as he tried to rescue four-year-old twins Holly and Ella and Jordan, two.

All four were killed by the blaze, started by family friend Dyson Allen, 19, in the children's bedroom in Freckleton last year.

Allen was found guilty of manslaughter at Preston Crown Court.

Reece's father, Martin Goulding, said the loss of the siblings had been "devastating for the whole family".

"I've lost my son and the family altogether has lost four children.

"It doesn't make any sense at all, I don't understand it. The loss is just so great, there's no words to cover that."

'My best friend'

Image caption The fire took place in the children's bedroom of the dormer bungalow

Mr Goulding said he had received the news the following morning when the police knocked at his door.

Speaking about his son's actions, he said that Reece was "a true hero".

"He has done me and the family proud, trying to save his brothers and sisters.

"He loved his family very much. I wouldn't have expected him to do anything else, that's the sort of person he was.

"If there was ever somebody in trouble, he would be there to help them."

He added that he had lost his son and "best friend".

Following Allen's conviction, a statement read out by Lancashire Police on behalf of the Smith family also paid tribute to Reece.

It said that the 19-year-old had "paid the ultimate price for trying to rescue his brother and sisters and for that we will be eternally proud".

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