Nurse haunted by children's deaths in Bridlington house fire calls for more support for communities
A NURSE who tried to save three children killed in a house fire is calling for other witnesses to be better supported.
Lesley Salisbury saw 3-year-old Maddie-Jane Hudson die alongside her brothers William, 9, and AJ, 5, in the fire in Bridlington in 2010.
The children's mother, Samantha, was left unable to walk, eat or speak after the fire tore through her house and is in a permanent care home.
Now, Mrs Salisbury is calling for improved support for communities affected by tragedies after six children lost their lives in a house fire in Derby earlier this month.
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"We've been in the same boat as their neighbours," Mrs Salisbury said. "Once the media have gone and the police have gone, you're left with this shrine on the street, with flowers and cards and teddy bears. It's a permanent reminder.
"Every time you walk down the street, there's a boarded-up house with blackened windows and everyone gone."
Mrs Salisbury tried desperately to resuscitate the children but was unable to save them.
"It's a memory that will haunt me forever," she said. "There's one image I've got from when one of the firemen came out with a little boy in his arms.
"Another image is the faces of the children when I was working on them."
The nurse said she wanted to let neighbours of the victims of a recent fire in Derby know they were not alone.
She said: "They have to help each other and support each other.
"I can understand what they must be feeling, having gone through something similar myself. I know how I felt following the fire and I would be happy to talk to them if they wanted to speak to me."
She said after the police move on, neighbours can feel alone.
"I think some sort of support network for the neighbours could be in place," Mrs Salisbury said.
"For some people, there's the Church and that's fine but if you're not religious, you need something else.
"I worked as a nurse at Hull Prison and my senior management were unsympathetic."
Mrs Salisbury still has flashbacks of what happened on the day of the fire.
"Every so often, it all comes back," she said.
"I think maybe local doctors' surgeries could offer some help and support to the local community.
"I just think somebody ought to be made aware that the neighbours are affected too and they should be offered support as well."
After the fire in Bridlington, people in Mrs Salisbury's street were much more concerned about the risks of a blaze starting.
Humber Fire and Rescue Service said there was a spike in the number of townspeople responding to safety checks.
Community protection unit manager Allen Cunningham said: "Prior to the incident, we had a very, very poor response to home fire safety checks in the area.
"But then, immediately after the incident, we had an unprecedented acceptance of them."
Mr Cunningham said his officers work hard to reassure people in any community after a serious fire.
Firemen carry out school visits, return to the site of the blaze and provide smoke alarms.
They also refer every lethal fire to a fire deaths and injuries panel, which looks at the events leading up to it and tries to make sure lessons are learnt.
Mr Cunningham said: "If neighbours need to speak to anybody, we will always offer them a contact number.
"We're more than happy to revisit anybody affected.
"We always invite our community partners from across the sector to make sure there's nothing we have missed."