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10-year-old girl saves man from Granby Close flats fire

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A 10-YEAR-OLD girl saved the day after a fire broke out in a block of council-owned flats in Llanelli yesterday evening (Nov 23).

The blaze, which broke out in the stairwell of a block of flats in Granby Close, saw one resident hospitalised as a result of smoke inhalation.

Five of the six properties involved were tenanted, The Herald understands.

A male resident had to be dragged out of one of the burning flats. The man cried out for help to local Maes Y Morfa pupil Tia Jayne Phillips Hughes, aged 10. Tia then alerted her father Daniel, along with locals Christian Davies and Luke Watkins.

Thankfully with the use of a ladder the two locals were able to get the casualty to safety, and he was taken to Morriston Hospital.

Tia told the Herald: “I was out playing with my two friends and my cousin and I could hear someone screaming for help from the flats at Granby Close. There were lots of flames and smoke everywhere.

“There was a woman in the window and she was shouting that she was pregnant. This was before the bangs. I ran to my house and told me Daddy that I needed a ladder, he ran up the road with the ladder on his back to rescue everyone from the fire – I was really scared, I’ve seen a fire before but not a big one like this. My father rescued three people out of there, he’s my hero.”

Tia’s father, Daniel Hughes, said: “Christian Davies and Luke Watkins had to smash a window at the bottom flat of the building to get a man out to safety. There were two really loud explosions – everyone could hear it and the ground shook.

“All of Granby close has been evacuated.. I managed to help a pregnant female and her partner out of another flat plus another male. It was my daughter Tia who called for help.”

Tia’s mother, Emma Phillips, said: “Tia came running in the house shouting for us to get help. The two bangs were so close together, it was hell of a sound. The fire was absolutely massive, like something out of a movie. I’m so grateful to my daughter for getting help.”

Luke Watkins added: “We could hear screaming and we saw Tia and thought someone was chasing her. We ran up to the flats and they were on fire. We saw Dan coming around the corner with a ladder, and he put the ladder up to the top floor. At the bottom flat a man was banging the window screaming for help. Me and Christian smashed the window and managed to get him out, he was unconscious on the floor. The ambulance arrived and gave him oxygen and managed to resuscitate him. Dan managed to get the pregnant woman out before us. Six flats are now in ruin. I think if we hadn’t got the male out then his number would have been up. It was a relief to see him breathe again.”

Craig Ian Woodward, partner of (a resident of the ruined flats) Angela Thomas, said: “We only went to the shop for five minutes, the next thing we know my girlfriend’s flat is in flames. She’s lost absolutely everything. Thankfully we managed to get the hamsters out but everything else is gone and this is just before Christmas. Angela has lost her possessions, her furniture all of her memories, the lot! She’s only lived there for a year and a half, this is totally devastating.”

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “Dyfed-Powys Police is appealing for information following a fire which occurred in the stairwell of a block of flats at Granby Close, Llanelli.

“The fire occurred at approximately 5.15pm on Thursday 23rd November 2017.

“Police officers are working with specialist fire investigation officers from Mid and West wales Fire and Rescue Service to establish the cause of the fire which is currently being treated as unexplained.

“Anyone who has any information that could help the investigation is asked to call police on 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.”

Sean Rees, Llanelli Town Councillor for the Glanymor Ward, said: “I was at the site yesterday evening and spoke with the emergency services. I want to thank the police, ambulance and fire services for their response to this incident at Granby Close.

“I have also been speaking with some of the residents and families in our area and understandably we are all shocked. Some residents were also evacuated to nearby buildings.

“Well done especially to Tia Hughes who is just 10 years old and all her family for their quick actions which also helped to save lives. I think we should definitely recognise the heroics of Tia and her family for raising the alarm and for providing assistance before the emergency services arrived.

“As always, there has been great community spirit on show from everyone in the Morfa. All of our thoughts are of course with those who have been affected.”

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Conservatives in disarray over alleged Christmas party lockdown breach

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THE CONSERVATIVE Party is investigating the attendance of senior Senedd members and staff at a Christmas party held during December’s lockdown.

Lockdown restrictions prohibit mixing with people outside your own household.

The Welsh restrictions barring such gatherings follow the basic outline of those imposed by the Conservative UK Government in December.

Those attending the drinks party included Paul Smith, the Conservative Chief of Staff at the Senedd, Darren Millar, the Party’s Chief Whip and campaign coordinator, and Preseli Pembrokeshire MS and Conservative Senedd Group Leader Paul Davies.

The Herald understands that a Labour Senedd Member who attended the Party has been suspended by the Labour Senedd Group pending its own investigation.

The Conservatives’ embarrassment at talking the talk but not walking the walk is intensified by Darren Millar’s presence at the shindig.

In May, Mr Millar led calls for Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething to be sacked for eating a bag of chips in a park with one of his own children.

If the Conservative Party follows the logic of their previously stated positions, Mr Millar’s and Mr Davies’ futures look bleak indeed.

With a Senedd election only months away, the revelations have thrown the Conservatives into disarray.

If they do nothing, the Conservatives will – at the very least – face claims they are hypocrites.

If the Conservative Party acts decisively, it faces massive internal problems.

The Conservatives responded to our request for a response to our story.

Those involved stressed they did not host a Christmas Party.

The incident happened on December 8, when the above met in the members’ tea room to discuss legislation for possible inclusion in the Welsh Conservative manifesto with a Labour backbencher.

During the evening they did drink a glass or two of wine.

They stress that at no point were there more than four people in the room at any one time and that they maintained social distancing.

A joint statement from Paul Davies, Darren Millar, and Paul Smith said: “We are profoundly sorry for our actions.

“While we did not break the rules, we recognise that what was part of a day’s work would not be seen to be following the spirit of them, especially given the tough time the country has been going through.”

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Family tribute to Carole Patricia Fowler

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Carole was a teacher for 30 years at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Llanelli. She loved children and they loved her. 

As one of her past colleagues said: “I know she made such a difference to every child she taught.” She was very popular with staff and well respected and loved by parents. She was dedicated and conscientious, always 100% for the children. She led the music there and was always popular with her guitar accompaniments for services and concerts. 

Likewise, she was a valued member of the choir at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, Gendros, Swansea, where she would often accompany hymns with her guitar and gave guitar lessons to the children in the church’s Saturday Music Club. She was also a keen member of Côr Persain, Ammanford. 

She was talented, loved and in demand. A convicted and devout Catholic all her life, through good and bad.

Carole was an avid and very gifted crocheter and was always crocheting or knitting something for someone. She had been spending her time recently, during the Covid crisis, crocheting NHS teddies in scrubs and rainbows, with many given to practising nurses. Carole had recently started learning to make bobbin lace. She was also capable of some very decent sewing, too. 

She was also learning Welsh, doing ‘pilates’ and was considering taking up yoga lessons as well.

She was a busy lady! As one of her work colleagues said of her: “She was wise, strong, beautiful, generous, devout and feisty. And I loved her for all those qualities.”

Above all, she was an immeasurably loved Mam, daughter, sister and a doting Mamgu and so much loved by her fiancé. Having been together for 14 years, they would have been married last July 20th had covid allowed! 

Her premature passing at 61 is tragic and she is already sorely, painfully missed. She leaves behind a huge chasm in so many hearts that cannot be filled.

“Eternal rest grant unto her, o Lord, may perpetual light shine about her, may she rest in peace.”

If anyone witnessed the collision or may have been travelling on the M4 at the relevant time, please contact the Serious Collision Unit quoting police reference DPP-20210113-317

Police can be contacted either online at: bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Tip off leads to pensioner’s drug stash

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A BRIEFCASE full of drugs has been recovered during a raid in Swansea suburb.
Police acting on information provided by a member of the public executed a warrant in Gorseinon and recovered a large quantity of cannabis.
A man was arrested on suspicion of possession of the class B drug, with intent to supply.
A South Wales Police spokesman said: “At around 5.40pm on Wednesday, January 6, following an intelligence led operation, a 68 year-old man from Gorseinon was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply cannabis.
“He was taken to Swansea central police station for questioning. He has been released under investigation”.

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