A woman was engulfed in flames as she escaped her burning home before firefighters broke into the house to rescue her baby daughter.
Neighbours watched in horror as the screaming woman put out the flames by rolling round on the garden at the front of her Black Country home.
They then rushed out to help her before turning their attention to her 13-month-old daughter who was still in the house, in Haden Walk, in Rowley Regis.
They attempted to get inside using a ladder and smashing a bedroom window before fire crews brought out the baby.
Police believe the fire, which happened just before 1am yesterday morning, was deliberate. They have arrested a man, aged 42, of Rowley Regis, on suspicion of attempted murder.
The mother, 31, and known locally as Louise, was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital with serious burns to her head and neck. Her daughter was treated for breathing in smoke before being taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The woman’s other daughter, aged nine, escaped unhurt.
Today the gutted house was boarded up and taped off by police as officers moved in to find out what caused the fire. Neighbour Audrey Bayliss, 74, said: “I woke up and looked outside my window and saw the woman rolling around on the lawn.
“I went outside to help her and another neighbour put a towel around her. She was badly burned and frantic, she kept saying ‘my baby is up there’.”
Another neighbour, Amanda Bissell, 43, called 999 and also rushed out to help the woman. Her husband Andrew, 45, said: “There was a crowd of people who came out of their homes to help.”
The neighbours got a ladder and one man climbed it to smash a window to a bedroom but could not get in because of the smoke inside. Fire crews arrived shortly after.