13/12/2012 14:47 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Emmerdale Child Star Sophie Firth, 3, Dies After Catching Her Dress On Gas Fire

Emmerdale child star Sophie Firth, 3, dies after catching her dress on gas fire Ross Parry

A three-year-old girl who once starred in TV soap Emmerdale has died after her dress caught on a gas fire.

Sophie Firth spent nine days fighting for life in hospital after suffering horrific burns from the accident at her grandmother's home, where the family had been living while their home was renovated.

She was leaning over the gas fire in the living room when her dress got caught in the flames.

Her mother Amy Harhoff, 28, desperately tried to save her by smothering her in a blanket as family members called for fire and ambulance services.

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.

As a baby, Sophie 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's parents, who both work for Doncaster Council, have spoken of their devastation at losing their 'beautiful little girl' and say they will 'carry their little princess in their arms forever'.

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 Emmerdale 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 said: "Sophie was such a lovely little girl and she was exceptionally bright.

"You do expect that one day you may bury your parents but you never expect to bury a child."