Girl, 7, still fighting for life after Exeter house fire

Girl, 7, still fighting for life after Exeter house fire as police reveal one of three surviving children is the twin brother of four-year-old who died with parents

  • Daniel and Kaylie Rudge died in fire at their home alongside daughter Lillie-Rose 
  • The house fire in St David’s area of Exeter, Devon, took place on Sunday morning
  • Two boys, nine and four, and a seven-year-old girl, are being treated in hospital
  • Devastated friends and family have raised thousands of pounds after the blaze  

A seven-year-old girl is still fighting for her life in hospital after a Devon house fire killed a four-year-old girl and her parents.

Daniel and Kaylie Rudge died alongside their four-year-old daughter Lillie-Rose after a fire broke out at a house in the St David’s area of Exeter in the early hours of Sunday. 

Lillie-Rose’s twin brother is one of three children – the others are a girl, seven, and boy, nine – currently being treated at Bristol Children’s Hospital. The seven-year-old is in critical condition.

The fire is not being treated as suspicious after police searched the scene and found no evidence of third-party involvement. 

The blaze started in a downstairs room and no faults have been identified with any electrical appliances or wiring. The investigation is continuing, police said. 

A scientific major investigations unit stands outside the Exeter home where a woman, 28, man, 29, and a girl, four, all died in a house fire on Sunday 

Chief superintendent Evans asked the public to give officers space as they investigate, saying he will give them a ‘safe space,’ to leave flowers or tributes ‘over the coming days’. Some have already left floral tributes at the scene

Superintendent Antony Hart said: ‘The circumstances of this tragic incident have touched the hearts of all of those who were involved in the emergency response, those who know the family and the wider community.

‘Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time, and they are being supported by specialist officers. We ask that the privacy of those who are grieving is respected.’ 

Full-time mother Kaylie, 28, and Daniel, 29, a member of a local bike group, had been married for five years.

Devastated friends have been paying tribute while a fundraising page has now been set up to raise money for their surviving children – with thousands of pounds already donated. 

Mr Rudge was a member of the Demons motor bike club – and his bike was parked outside the house in a cul-de-sac which is home to around 20 families near the city’s main railway station.  

Young couple Daniel and Kaylie Rudge died in a fire at their home in Exeter on Sunday morning, along with their four-year-old daughter

Forensic officers arrived at the property in Clayton Road on Monday as police investigate the cause of the fire that killed Kaylie, 28,  Daniel, 29 and their daughter Lillie-Rose, four

A cordon outside the house remained in place for around three days as officers carried out their enquiries

Close friend Lauren England said: ‘Daniel’s sister is our good friend and neighbour and we used to socialise a few times a week with Daniel and Kaylie.

‘We are absolutely devastated and heartbroken not only to lose friends, but to help his sister and family get through this awful time.

‘They were such funny, caring and loving individuals, amazing parents to their four beautiful babies,

‘They were always there when we needed them the most without any hesitation, they were at our door within minutes, always thinking about everyone else but themselves.

‘They will be truly missed and Exeter has gained a huge hole in its heart as they were very popular among the community.

‘We hope their souls are at peace and their babies they’ve left behind will be very well taken care of and will never go without love and care from us all.’

Police extended their cordon to give them more space to investigate the cause of the fire – though officers said they were not looking to speak to anyone else in connection with the fire

Three other children – boys, aged nine and four, and a seven-year-old girl – are being treated at Bristol Children’s Hospital – while police have screened off the entrance to the home 

Miss England’s partner Lauren Willdigg added: ‘Big love to my best friend and her family, two of my good friends gone too soon.’

Devon and Cornwall police said they were alerted to the fire at 5.30am on Sunday after it had been extinguished by emergency services.   

The end of terrace property is next to a takeaway shop in a cul-de-sac where mostly families live. 

Some police were drafted in from Plymouth to the scene and officers were also asking for CCTV from the local area following the blaze.   

Chief Fire Officer at Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue, Lee Howell, added: ‘Our hearts go out to everyone who knew the family involved in the fire in Exeter. 

‘I’m very proud of the actions of our Fire Control operators and the crews from Danes Castle, Middlemoor, Clyst St George and Crediton who worked so bravely to try and save the lives of those involved and all those support staff and officers who helped resolve this incident.

The house is an a cul de sac where families mostly live. Most said they had no idea of what had happened

‘They have been offered support following such a traumatic incident. The support from police and ambulance service colleagues was so important and I’m grateful to everyone who tried to help in any way.’  

Further tributes were paid online.

Amy Chambers wrote: ‘Gut wrenching my heart is in pieces, such a lovely family. My thoughts are with family, thinking of you all.’

A fundraising page has now been set up to help the surviving members of the family.

Natalie Anderson, who created the appeal, wrote: ‘As some of you may know or have seen or heard there was a horrific fire at a house in central Exeter in the early hours of Sunday which have left two adults and a four-year-old girl dead.

‘Three more young children, all from the same family, are injured and are to be taken to Bristol Children’s Hospital.

The tragedy will impact ‘the whole of the city,’ of Exeter, council leader Phil Bialyk said

‘On behalf of friends of the family and the bike club that Dan was a member of, I am helping to set up this go fund me page for the family.

‘This will help their family cover costs for funerals, travel, child care and for the other children for in the present and the future.

‘Please donate what you can for the family at this devastating time, our thoughts and prayers are with all family and friends and of course the children who are currently still in hospital.’

It has already received around £5,000 in donations. 

Officers remained at the scene as they investigate the cause of the fire that claimed three lives, it is not thought to be suspicious but enquiries are ongoing

Police confirmed the deaths of a woman, 28, man, 29, and the girl, four, who is believed to be their daughter, at the property in Clayton Road in the St David’s area of Exeter, Devon

Exeter Fire and Police officers remain on scene at the property in Clayton Road, in Exeter

Devastated friends of the Rudges have set up a fundraising page to support their family in the wake of the fire

A flag was flown at half mast at the Civic Centre and there wase a minute’s silence held by Exeter City Council before a full council meeting today.

Phil Bialyk, leader of Exeter City Council, said: ‘This is tragic news that will impact the whole of the city.

‘Our hearts go out to the family. Thank you to the emergency services. We will of course do anything we can to support the community.’ 

Tom Woodman, chief executive of Cornerstone Housing which owns the property at Clayton Road where the fire happened, added: ‘Words can’t express how devastated we feel at Cornerstone Housing about this terrible tragedy in one of our houses.

‘Our hearts go out to the family’s relatives, friends, and the whole of the local community. We will do whatever we can to help and support them at this awful time.

‘Our thoughts are also with the emergency services who dealt with this heart-breaking scene.’ 

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