A three-year-old girl who appeared in Emmerdale has died after suffering horrific burns when her dress caught alight on a gas fire at her grandmother’s home.
Sophie Firth spent nine days fighting for life in hospital after the tragic accident, but succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday.
As a baby, the girl played Angelica, daughter of Jimmy and Nicola King in the ITV soap – and she was due to appear in a nativity play at her nursery school next week.
Sophie was leaning over the gas fire in the living room when her dress got caught in the flames.
The house, where the three-year-old’s family was living while their own home nearby was being renovated, was not damaged by the fire.
Sophie was taken to hospital in Sheffield for treatment to her 70 per cent burns, and was later transferred to a specialist unit in Newcastle.
She was given a skin graft last Friday, but her organs began to fail after she developed a blood infection.
Her parents, who both work for Doncaster Council, were at her side when she passed away.
They have spoken of their devastation at losing their ‘beautiful little girl’ and say they will ‘carry their little princess in their arms forever’.
Sophie’s brother, George, turns one year old today.
Soon after she was born, Sophie was on the cast of Emmerdale for three months from August 2009 playing Angelica King, before being replaced by Rebecca Bakes.
In the soap, Angelica was born prematurely and suffered from breathing problems. After being released from intensive care, she was kidnapped by her aunt Lexi, who was upset at her inability to have a child, and held hostage on the roof of the hospital.
‘We are devastated to hear of Sophie’s tragic death,’ a spokesman for the programme said. ‘Our sincere condolences go out to her family. Everyone at Emmerdale is thinking of them at this sad time.’
Sophie’s uncle Mick Harhoff paid tribute to his ‘beautiful niece’ and said the family would never get over the loss.
‘Sophie was such a lovely little girl and she was exceptionally bright,’ he said. ‘She always used to say that she wanted to be a princess.
‘You do expect that one day you may bury your parents but you never expect to bury a child.’
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 holiday season.’