A young family had a lucky escape when fire badly damaged their home yesterday morning.
A quick-thinking neighbour, who rang for the fire brigade, helped to get four children from the terraced property to
Firefighters rushed to the house on Pall Mall – opposite the Black Horse pub – after receiving the emergency call at around 11.20am.
They did not know if people were still inside the house when they arrived.
A fire investigation into the cause of the blaze has begun.
But the neighbour, who asked not to be named, said she understood one of the family was using a camping stove in the kitchen.
“They were in the kitchen with a camping stove and it just went up. They thought they’d put it out. I said you need to get the fire brigade.
“He said it’s gone out, but the smoke was billowing.
“As he came out, the back door made this big cracking noise.
“I banged on the next door and said you’ve got to get out. There were no flames, it was just smoke from what I could see.
“I rang the fire brigade and I think the neighbour did as well.
“The children all came and sat in my house.
“I brought them there. There were four children. They were just shocked, really.”
Watch manager Naveed Sharif, of Red Watch, said: “Two appliances attended and when we got here it was heavily smoke logged, with the kitchen fully developed in terms of fire. We used four breathing apparatus, two hose reel and three positive pressure.
“My concern there was smoke in the roof area and that’s not a good sign.
“We got the breathing apparatus team in immediately and pretty much got the fire under control and we are just investigating now.”
He said there was difficulty getting information from the shocked father before giving the all clear that everyone was out of the building.
“The occupier was distraught. He couldn’t give us any information,” said Mr Sharif.
“Once we got in we sent back the message as all persons accounted for.”
He said the incident showed the importance of smoke alarms.
“If this was in the middle of the night, a tiny bit of smoke would have set smoke alarms off in both adjoining properties.
“The occupier was very lucky to get out unscathed.”
The kitchen was destroyed by fire and all the other rooms suffered heavy smoke damage.
Part of Pall Mall was blocked off to traffic.