A mother with a “heart of gold” and her two children died in a house fire while her “hero father” was critically injured trying to save them.
Gemma Germeney, 31, died at her Cambridge home amid the fire, while her son Oliver Peden, four, and daughter Lily Peden, eight, later died in hospital.
Around 30 firefighters from six teams were battling the blazes burning at the Council Maisonette around 1am on Friday.
Regrettably, police yesterday confirmed the three deaths, adding that a man in his 30s, believed to be Gemma’s partner Scott Peden, has been taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.
A small child from a neighboring house was also taken in but is believed to have suffered from smoke inhalation and was not seriously injured.
It is also believed that the Peden family’s two dogs were killed in the inferno.
The neighbors paid tribute to the family. A resident named Debbi said: “Gemma loved her children to the last detail, she was a devoted mother and had a heart of gold.”
“We heard her partner Scott was trying to save them all when the fire broke out in the middle of the night.
“He was a hero, but he couldn’t save her. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.”
Facebook Pictures show the family together, one showing them in great detail for Gemma’s 30th birthday party.
Others show her and Scott cuddling and the kids celebrating little Lily’s birthday.
A second neighbor who witnessed the tragedy said: “I was woken up by what I thought was a car alarm, but it must have been a smoke detector.”
“Smoke was rising everywhere and I could see flames and hear the sound of windows smashing.
“I didn’t realize how serious it was until I saw some stretchers being rolled out. It was absolutely awful.”
Another witness added that they were awakened by “screaming” before noticing the “mess” that was unfolding.
In a statement, Area Commander Stuart Smith of the Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service described the loss as “devastating”.
He said: “It’s just heartbreaking.
“A fire like this is one of the toughest jobs a firefighter can experience.”
The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing, the service confirmed.
A Cambridge City Council spokesman said: “People will be shocked and dismayed to learn of this incident in their local community and we are working to support those directly affected, including residents of neighboring properties.”
“Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and all those affected.”
A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service added: “The Ambulance Service would like to extend their deepest condolences to all those affected by this tragic incident.”