A MARCH man has told the Citizen of the shocking moment he found teenager Grace Coe staggering in the road after she jumped from a first-floor window to escape her burning home.
Michael Day, who is a dispatch worker at nearby Tradelink, said he was going to work at 5.55am on Thursday with colleagues Dan Conquest and Jim Smith when they spotted 17-year-old Grace, barefoot and in her nightclothes, yards from her Elm Road home.
Unbeknown to them, Grace had just leapt around 15 feet and sustained serious head injuries.
After watching her for a couple of minutes, Michael realised something was seriously wrong and they stopped.
Michael said: “She was in a very bad state. She looked like she’d been rolling around on the floor. At first, we thought she’d been run over.”
They took her into the canteen at Tradelink, where Jay and Ray Wing looked after her, and called an ambulance. Dan went back to Elm Road to see if there were family members looking for her. It was then he saw smoke and realised the house was on fire.
Grace Coe had been alone in the house when the fire broke out. Her family were in Scotland celebrating the wedding of Grace’s elder sister Laura-Jane (LJ) and faced a frantic journey back home from Gretna Green after hearing the news.
There were two smoke alarms in the house but as Grace has hearing problems, her family believe she may not have heard them.
Former Neale-Wade student Grace remains in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. She suffered a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain in the fall.
Grace’s condition improved over the weekend and she now recognises her family, including mum Rebecca and dad Michael, and is talking more. However, she has very little memory of the fire.
Yesterday (Tuesday) she had surgery on a hairline fracture of her spine so it can heal without causing more damage.
Michael told the Citizen Grace had chosen to stay at home rather than attend 19-year-old LJ’s wedding on Wednesday because she was due to start a work placement at nearby All Saints’ School as part of her childcare college course at Peterborough Regional College.
Her aunt said: “Grace was so excited about the placement. She was a former pupil at All Saints’ and knew all the teachers; she was really looking forward to it.”
Her family had no qualms about leaving her as family and friends live nearby and she had the family dog for security. Sadly, the dog died in the fire, but the family’s cat somehow survived.
Grace also has a younger sister Rosie and brother Oliver.
Fire investigators are still trying to determine a cause for the blaze.