A NINE-month-old baby was thrown from a bedroom window into the arms of his dad as fire tore through their home.
Little Robbie Thorpe was tossed from the first-floor window by his mum Lana Tuffs as the family frantically tried to escape the inferno in Parkhouse Farm Way, Leigh Park.
Moments before, dad Steve Thorpe had punched a window – badly cutting his hand – and jumped 15ft out of the window to the garden below, clutching his four-year-old son Jack in his arms.
Bleeding heavily, Steve grabbed a mattress, which was already in the back garden, as he prepared to catch Robbie.
As thick smoke spewed out of their home, Lana threw the baby down to Steve, before jumping down herself.
Miraculously, baby Robbie escaped the drama without a single scratch.
His parents, however, were badly hurt. Lana, 23, suffered a sprained ankle and needed stitches to her arm from glass cuts.
Steve, 30, had to undergo an emergency operation yesterday to stitch up his injured hand.
Lana’s parents, Shane and Lisa Tuffs, who live next door, described how they were woken at about 1am to screaming outside and the sound of smashing glass.
Mr Tuffs, 48, said: ‘My son said he heard a smash in the window.
‘There was a lot of smoke and I looked out of the window.
‘I ran down the stairs and ran to the back to grab a ladder.
‘As I pushed a ladder up, my daughter was standing there.
‘I said “where are the kids?”. She said “they are both out”. Steve had jumped out of the window with Jack in his arms.
‘Lana had to throw Robbie out of the window for Steve to catch, then Lana threw herself out of the window.’
The family were coated in black soot and treated by paramedics for smoke inhalation.
Mr Tuffs said: ‘The baby was untouched. He had a bit of smoke up his nose, but he was fine.’
Mrs Tuffs, 45, said: ‘I just thank god there was a battery in the smoke alarm. Steve lost a lot of blood where he had put his hand through the window. It was good how he got them out so quickly.’
Lana and her children returned from hospital yesterday, but were too exhausted to speak to The News after being up all night.
Fire investigation officers trawled through the charred remains of the house yesterday.
The blaze began in the lounge and officers concentrated their efforts on this part of the house as they searched for clues.
Around 12 firefighters used breaking-in equipment to enter the property and tackled the blaze using breathing apparatus and hose reel jets. It took around 20 minutes to extinguish the fire.
The family were trapped on the first floor as there was no door separating their lounge from the rest of the ground floor – allowing the heat and gases to travel upstairs very quickly.
Chris George, who works in the fire safety department for Hampshire Fire and Rescue, said: ‘The smoke detector sounded and that’s given them early warning to escape the house, albeit not by conventional means through the front door.
‘Our safety message is to turn everything off at night. Have your escape route.’
He said the safety advice was to escape via a downstairs door if it is safe.
Another option is to find a room away from the fire, putting towels in the door space, and opening a window to get fresh air.
But he added: ‘It was quite a serious fire. They would have had a fair bit of smoke and heat going up the stairs that probably put more pressure on them.’
Most of the family’s belongings have been destroyed.