A GRIEVING father and husband has paid a touching tribute to his wife and daughter who died tragically in a house fire days before Christmas.

Alina Kordaszewska, 41 and her daughter, Emila, 11, were unable to get out of their home, in South Stret, Braintree, after the blaze began at about 10.45am on Wednesday. 

It has now been confirmed the fire was started accidentally by candles in the lounge, on the ground floor of the house.

Although formal identification of the pair is yet to take place, a post-mortem examination took place yesterday and police have given a provisional cause of death of smoke inhalation.

Two women, believed to be Alina's 18-year-old daughter Milena Kordaszewska and her mother, Alicja Kordaszewska-Tom, escaped the fire and were taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. 

A joint fire and police investigation has concluded the cause of the fire was not suspicious. A file will be prepared for the coroner.

Alina’s husband, Rafal Kordaszewski, said the couple had been married for almost 20 years.

He added: "We grew up together as children and married when we were 21.

"We had our first daughter, Milena, 18, then our youngest daughter, Emila.

"We came to England ten years ago and moved to Braintree.

"Alina was a very quiet person but had lots of friends at her workplace, Tyco Electronics, where she worked for nine years.

"Emila went to John Ray Junior School and started at Notley High School in September.

"She had lots of friends and she was always trying to help people.

"Alina and Emila were very much loved and we will miss them greatly.

"We would like to thank everyone for their support and everything they have done for us.

"We have had so much support from our friends and the community - we are overwhelmed by their generosity.

"Friends have also brought us clothes and food and have helped us with housing.”

Adam Eckley, acing chief fire officer, said: "On behalf of the Service I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the family, friends and the local community.

"This is a tragic incident, and to fall so close to Christmas has made it even more heart-breaking.

"The fire service is doing everything we can to work with the local communities to reassure them and keep them safe”.

He added: "The fire service is urging everyone to take extra care when using candles.

"Make sure your candles are secured in a proper holder and are kept away from materials that may catch on fire.

"It is also vital you do not leave any candles unattended and they are fully extinguished before you leave the room."