Strangers united in grief after boy dies

Tributes are left outside the home in Edinburgh Road
Tributes are left outside the home in Edinburgh Road
Share this article

FLOWERS, candles, cuddly toys and a picture of two smiling brothers mark the scene of a devastating fire that has left a seven-year-old boy dead and a town in shock.

Neighbours, classmates from Kettering Buccleuch Academy and complete strangers have left tributes outside the home of ‘little man’ Mateusz in Edinburgh Road, Kettering, who died after a fire there on Tuesday.

One card below a photograph of Mateusz with his two-year-old brother, who survived the fire, read simply: “We didn’t know you little man. Sadly we never will. RIP.”

Neighbours began a collection for the boy’s shy Polish family, but they declined the kind offer because many of their belongings survived the fire.

His parents walked past the tributes to their son, described by his headteacher as ‘happy, bright and much-loved’, as they collected their remaining possessions from the boarded-up house yesterday.

One neighbour, whose six-year-old son Brandon played with Mateusz and who offered them a bag of clothes, said: “They managed to save everything.

“She couldn’t stop crying. He is distraught.”

Terrie Bowler, 24, whose six-year-old son Karson completed the trio, said: “Mateusz was always round for dinner. It’s sad.

“He was cheeky and a bit mischievous, but lovely at the same time.”

Mateusz’s parents, brother and another adult who lived at the house managed to get out of the property after the fire broke out on the ground floor at about 7.20am, but firefighters believe Mateusz was overcome by smoke as he slept upstairs.

Brave firefighters got him out but he died in hospital later that day.

One anonymous tribute at the scene said: “Sleep peacefully Mateusz.”

Fire officers and police have finished gathering evidence at the scene and are carrying out tests to determine the cause of the fire.

Police are not treating it as suspicious and are preparing a report for the coroner.

Classmates from his school, in Laburnum Crescent, had laid flowers under the charred front window frame of the house.

One read: “Thinking of you all at this tragic time. Mateusz will be missed by Cameron and all his friends at KBA.”

Headteacher Dawn Cotter said: “Mateusz was a happy, bright and much-loved member of our school community.

“Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies are with his family.”

Kerri Miller, 21, also of Wood Street, Kettering, whose nephew attended Kettering Buccleuch Academy with Mateusz, said: “I lost a baby when I was younger.

“God knows what it feels like to know them that long and then they are gone.”

Her friend Sandy Wood, 48, also of Wood Street, who laid flowers outside the home yesterday, said: “We are thinking about them. They have our deepest sympathy.

“What can you say in these circumstances.”

Readers left messages of support on the Evening Telegraph’s website and Facebook page.