Tragic death of Emmerdale girl, 3, after dress catches fire

Sophie Firth died after the dress she was wearing caught on the family's gas fire.
Sophie Firth died after the dress she was wearing caught on the family's gas fire.
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A THREE-YEAR-OLD girl who starred in television soap Emmerdale as a baby has died after her clothes caught fire in a horrific accident.

Sophie Firth lost her nine-day fight for life after the incident at her grandmother’s house, in which it is believed she leaned over a gas fire.

Her mother desperately tried to smother the flames with a blanket, and specialist medics did all they could to save her after she was taken to hospital with severe burns.

Yesterday her heartbroken family spoke of their “bright and beautiful” girl and said: “We will carry our little princess in our hearts forever”.

Sophie spent three months in the Yorkshire soap as Angelica, the daughter of characters Jimmy and Nicola King, and had planned to play an angel in a Nativity play at her nursery school next week.

She was taken to Sheffield Children’s Hospital for treatment after the accident in Skellow, Doncaster, on December 2.

She was later transferred to a specialist burns unit in Newcastle as her condition deteriorated.

After undergoing a skin graft last Friday Sophie developed a blood infection and her organs began to fail.

Her family, including her father Neil, a project manager for Doncaster Council, and mother Amy Harhoff, a traffic planner for the same authority, were with her when she died on Tuesday.

Sophie’s parents were too distressed to talk about the incident last night but her uncle Mick Harhoff from Sprotbrough, Doncaster, paid tribute to his “beautiful” niece and said her death was a loss that the family would never get over.

He said: “She was such a lovely little girl and she was exceptionally bright. She always use to say that she wanted to be a princess,

“You do expect that one day you may have to bury your parents but you never expect to bury your child.”

Sophie also leaves a younger brother, George, whose first birthday fell yesterday.

It is understood the family were living at the grandmother’s house in Skellow temporarily while renovation work was being carried out on their home in Austerfield, Doncaster.

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said “This was a tragic accident and our thoughts are with the girl’s family and friends at this extremely distressing time,

“Any fire can be dangerous we would urge people to pay particular attention to the risk of fires in their home during the cold weather and as we approach the Christmas holidays.”