Mother and daughter killed in Braintree house fire
Witnesses have told of desperate efforts to save the lives of a mother and daughter killed in a house fire.
Two women managed to escaped the house in South Street, Braintree, shortly before 23:00 GMT on Wednesday.
But Alina Kordaszewska and her daughter Emilia were trapped inside and died at the scene.
Neighbour Claire Deloubes told of screams and vain efforts to break through a window to rescue those inside.
The cause of the fire is being investigated by Essex Police and the fire service.
Notley High School, where Emilia had been a pupil, expressed its "unutterable sadness" at news of her death.
Her tutor described her as a "delightful, friendly and positive student" who had "settled in well during her first term" at the school.
The teenager's friends have set up a fundraising website page aimed at raising £5,000 for the family.
It read: "On Wednesday 21 December one of my dearest friends family home set alight.
"This itself is such a horrid thing to happen so close to Christmas, but unfortunately not everyone made it to safety.
"Her mother and little sister became trapped and didn't make it out of the house, this left an 18-year-old with her father to lose everything they love, family, possessions and a place that was safe for them."
Essex Police said they have officers with the family.
Mrs Kordaszewska's other daughter Milena, 18, is understood to have been one of the women who escaped the fire.
Rafa Bogonos, who worked with Mrs Kordaszewska a CommScope in the town, said it had "really hit our Polish community".
Ms Deloubes, of South Street, said: "We heard screaming so we came outside and a woman was distraught.
"People were trying to break the front window and they didn't manage to."
"Within minutes the house was ablaze and the fire service came, and we were asked to go back inside," she added.
"It was horrendous."
Braintree MP James Cleverly said he was contacted early on Thursday morning by police to be briefed on the deaths.
He said: "It is such sad and shocking news when members of a young family lose their lives in any circumstances and at any time.
"But obviously, under these circumstances, just before Christmas, it is absolutely tragic."
From the scene: Richard Smith, BBC Essex
The detached Victorian-style home has been gutted.
The roof has burned through from the front gable to the rear and all of the windows are broken.
Beyond the police cordon, debris lies all around the house.
People are very quietly pausing outside to look.
The power was cut to the detached house at about 01:00 on Thursday so fire crews could tackle flames from inside the building.
The fire was put out shortly before 01:30.
Essex Police, which dispatched its helicopter to the area, has yet to confirm the relationship between the woman and the child who died or whether the cause of the fire was thought to be suspicious.