A father was forced to leave his younger son to die in a blazing caravan after rescuing his elder brother from the inferno.
Shaun Harvey, 28, was beaten back by the flames as he tried to save three-year-old Zac.
Mr Harvey was left with severe burns after the caravan went up ‘like a tinder box’ in the early hours of Sunday.
He had been enjoying a weekend sleepover visit from sons Zac, three, and Harley, four, after breaking up with their mother Erin last August.
When news of the tragedy was broken to Mrs Harvey, 28, her neighbours could hear her pleading ‘where’s my baby?’.
Mr Harvey was living in a caravan in his stepmother’s garden. Miriam and Sean Connolly, who live next door, were woken by the fire and tried to help.
“It was horrific,” said Mrs Connolly, 54. “He was carrying his eldest boy in his arms, the poor tot had no eyebrows left.
“His father was in his underpants and the skin had been burned off his neck, shoulders and back.
“He had tried so hard to get back into the caravan to reach his other little boy but it was an inferno. It went up in a matter of seconds.”
Mr Connolly, 55, added: “Shaun was screaming ‘My boy’s dead, my boy’s dead… I’ve killed my boy’. I was telling him that no one had killed anybody – but he was in such a state.
“The caravan went up like a tinder box, we were trying to reassure him he did everything he could to save his child.
“We ran a cold bath for him and his little boy, they were both in extreme pain. They asked for potato peelings which are supposed to be good for burns.”
Mrs Connolly said that when Mrs Harvey was told her estranged husband and Harley were in hospital she began to call locals asking what had happened to Zac.
Mrs Connolly said: “I didn’t have the heart to tell her that her little boy had died. It is so tragic, he was such a lovely little boy who loved coming to stay with his dad at weekends. I told her to get in touch with the police – it’s so heartbreaking.”
After the fire in the village of Ffair Rhos, in Ceredigion in west Wales, Mr Harvey and Harley were taken to hospital in Aberystwyth, but his son was later flown by air ambulance to a burns unit in Bristol, where he is in a critical condition with his mother at his bedside.
Mr Harvey was transferred to a burns unit in Swansea, where he is in a stable condition.
One of Mrs Harvey’s neighbours in the nearby village of Pontrhydfendigaid said: “Erin’s a good mother who is devoted to her boys. She’s with Harley in hospital and we are all praying he pulls through.”
Mrs Harvey also has a nine-year-old son from a previous relationship. On Monday Dyfed-Powys Police scaled down its inquiry into the blaze, which it says is not suspicious.