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 Burton siblings are Weardale's first Young Heroes


Quick-thinking children saved the life of their two-year-old sister after her dress caught fire while she hugged their new puppy.

The three siblings have now been named Weardale Police’s Young Heroes for their bravery during the terrifying ordeal at the family home last December.

Five-year-old Wesley, seven-year-old Joseph and nine-year-old Bethany were getting ready for a weekend away with their sister Emma and parents Sarah and Stephen Burton.

Cocker Spaniel pup Jaxon had been bathed and was drying in front of the fire when Emma bent down to hug him but within a split second of reaching for him, the toddler’s dress caught fire.

Despite witnessing the shocking events, the siblings raised the alarm and quickly shouted of Mr and Mrs Burton who rushed to Emma’s aid.

They managed to rip her dress and nappy off, which had largely protected her from the worst of the flames during the traumatic incident.

An ambulance was called and Emma was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle where she underwent a skin graft to treat burns to her back.

Mrs Burton said: “It all happened in a split second as her dress went up and Wesley screamed for help so we rushed to her.
“Emma’s back was completely in flames and her dad ripped the dress off. Thankfully her baby vest and nappy had taken the brunt of it so I managed to get them off – it was very scary.”

The toddler spent three weeks in hospital, meaning the family were largely apart for the Christmas break.

But instead of complaining about missing most of the festive fun, Wesley, Joseph and Bethany were nothing but supportive and stayed positive for the whole family.

Emma was released from hospital in the New Year and is doing well on her road to recovery.

Mrs Burton added: “We got home after New Year and the kids were fantastic especially because they had not had us for a lot over Christmas.

“They are little heroes and really look out for each other. We are really proud of them.”

Teachers at Stanhope Barrington Primary School – where all three are pupils - nominated the siblings for the award which recognises young people who have gone above and beyond to help others.

PCSO Kim Anderson visited the school to present the children with their special certificates and gift vouchers.

PCSO Anderson said: “When we heard the Burton family’s story we knew Wesley, Joseph and Bethany deserved to be crowned as our young heroes.

“Their bravery and courage, not just during the incident but in the weeks that followed, is so admirable and we are all so proud of them.

“The Young Heroes scheme was launched to recognise young people who have gone above and beyond and all three certainly have shown that.

“We had great pleasure in presenting Wesley, Joseph and Bethany with their awards and gift vouchers at their school and wish Emma all the best in her ongoing recovery.”

Any young person aged between 11 and 18 and living in the force area can be nominated for the Young Hero Awards.

To make a nomination call 101 and ask to speak to the Crook Neighbourhood Police Team.