Braintree house fire: Fatal blaze caused by candle

Pictured are left to right: Rafal Kordaszewski with his children Emilia and Milena Kordaszewska and wife Alina Kordaszewska. Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Rafal Kordaszewski with his wife Alina and children Emilia and Milena Kordaszewska

A house blaze that killed a mother and daughter was accidentally started by a candle.

Alina, 41, and 11-year-old Emilia Kordaszewski died in the fire in South Street, Braintree, on Wednesday.

Rafal Kordaszewski paid tribute to his wife of 20 years and daughter and said they were "very much loved".

Essex Fire Service said the candle was in the lounge on the ground floor. A spokesman urged "everyone to take extra care when using candles".

He added: "It is also vital you do not leave any candles unattended and they are fully extinguished before you leave the room."

Image caption More than 1,000 people have pledged to support the Kordaszewska family

A crowdfunding page has raised nearly £20,000 for the family in two days.

Mr Kordaszewski said he was "overwhelmed" by the generosity of friends and the community.

He added: "We would like to thank everyone for their support and everything they have done for us.

"We have had so much support from our friends and the community, we are overwhelmed by their generosity.

"Friends have also brought us clothes and food and have helped us with housing."

Image caption The power was cut to the detached house so fire crews could tackle flames from inside the building

The blaze broke out at about 22:30 GMT on Wednesday, trapping the pair inside.

Post-mortem examinations gave a provisional cause of death as smoke inhalation.

Acting chief fire officer, Adam Eckley said: "This is a tragic incident, and to fall so close to Christmas has made it even more heart-breaking."

'Love and support'

Friends of Mrs Kordaszewska's eldest daughter, Milena, who survived the fire, set up the fundraising page which has smashed its original target of £5,000.

Sophie King, who set up the appeal, wrote: "The sole purpose of this page is to help financially towards them rebuilding their lives and not having to worry financially about finding accommodation and eating.

"Please contribute anything that you can and let's hope that as a community we can make our love and support heard for Milena and her family."

Image copyright Notley High School
Image caption Emilia was described as a "delightful" student by her tutor at Notley High School

Milena is thought to have escaped the blaze along with her aunt. Dozens of floral tributes have been left outside the family home.

More than 100 people gathered at the town's Catholic church on Thursday night for a special mass in their memory.

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