South East Wales

Cwmbran fire: Neighbours tried to rescue Buckley family

Neighbours risked their lives to try to save a family of three from a burning house in Cwmbran, south east Wales.

Kim Buckley, 46, daughter Kayleigh, 17, and six-month-old grand-daughter Kimberley died on the Coed Eva estate.

Police said neighbours used a ladder but were beaten back by flames.

Police - who referred the case to the IPCC as officers had been called to the address on other occasions - confirmed a man, 27, from the Manchester area had been arrested on suspicion of murder.

In a statement issued on Tuesday evening, the force said: "Gwent Police can confirm that, while we cannot comment on particular details of incidents, we are aware that police officers have attended 15 Tillsland, Coed Eva on previous occasions."

They added that because of this previous contact, the case had been voluntarily referred to the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission).

As the murder investigation continues, a large area around where the family lived has been cordoned off and officers are making door-to-door inquiries.

Paying tribute to two neighbours who had tried to rescue the Buckleys, Chief Inspector Steve Corcoran said: "At least two male neighbours tried valiantly and bravely, using a ladder, to save the family, but unfortunately the fire was too fierce."

Image caption The scene of the fire on Tuesday

He added: "This is a clearly a tragic and horrendous incident where three generations of the same family have sadly lost their lives."

Some neighbours awoke to discover what had happened overnight while they had been sleeping.

Sandra Gough, 64, who lives a few doors down from the Buckley's house in Tillsland, said she might have heard the rescue efforts of neighbours.

"I heard banging and screaming at about 3am," she said. "It could well have been somebody trying to force their way in or out of the burning house.

Friends of the Buckley family have spoken of their shock at their loss.

Terena Mellor, 26, a friend of Kim Buckley, described her as "a character, very loud and fun-loving".

"If she saw you on the other side of the road she would have shouted out your name and asked you how you were," she said.

Image caption Floral tributes and messages have been left at the scene in Cwmbran

Ms Mellor said she believed daughter Kayleigh had been pregnant with twin daughters but had tragically lost one in birth.

The surviving daughter, Kimberley, had only recently been allowed home after spending time in intensive care at the Royal Gwent Hospital, in Newport.

Ms Mellor added: "This is such a tragedy. Kim and Kayleigh were very close and this should have been a happy time for everyone in the family.

"It is difficult to believe what has happened."

Rachel Speed, from Fairwater High School which Kayleigh attended, said she was remembered fondly there.

"it was devastating today," she said. "Absolute travesty. Not just for the pupils and the staff but for the wider community as well.

"Even pupils who didn't know her particularly well have been traumatised by it. They've been offered counselling within the school."

Firefighters were called to the scene at around 03:30 BST on Tuesday and reported finding the property "well ablaze".

Up to 30 firefighters fought the blaze before it was brought under control and put out.

The upper floor of the two-storey building is burnt out, with windows and parts of the roof missing.

"It was only when I got up this morning that I heard what happened but I didn't realise it was so close.

"It is terrible, absolutely horrific."

Fire service and police forensic examinations are under way to establish the cause and nature of the fire.

Gwent Police said any witnesses should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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