A smoke alarm saved the lives of a family after a huge blaze tore through their home and destroyed most of their property.
The fire broke out at the house in Bayleys Close, Empingham, at about 9.15pm on Tuesday.
When firefighters arrived at the scene flames were bellowing from the front bedroom windows and burning through the roof of the house. The tenants, a mother, father and their son, had all evacuated the property and were being comforted by neighbours.
Firefighters believe the family were saved by their alarm in what they are calling “one of the biggest blazes in the area”.
Crew manager Mick Frisby of Oakham fire station said: “This was one of the biggest fires I have seen in the area.
“It was a severe fire that destroyed the first floor and roof space.
“The occupants were alerted by the smoke alarm which has undoubtedly saved their lives.”
Two fire crews were called to tackle the blaze which is believed to have started due to a faulty electrical appliance.
The son was taken to Peterborough City Hospital. The parents were given emergency aid from the British Red Cross’ fire and emergency support team from Leicester.
The blaze was extinguished within an hour but the fire service remained at the house to carry out investigations yesterday.
Neighbours Alan Brown and son Daniel were forced to flee their home which adjoins the semi-detached house.
Describing the drama, Alan, 66, said: “I was in the house when it all went off.
“There was a hammering at the front door and it was a young lad saying ‘you’d better get out there’s a fire next door’.
“It was absolutely shocking when I came out to see flames coming out of the bedroom windows.
“The family were already out and thankfully they were alright. They were very very upset though. The fire service did a hell of a job in stopping it from spreading.”
Mr Brown said his house had been damaged by smoke and water and he had to stay elsewhere in the village. But he added: “It was good to see the community come together to comfort the family who had just lost their house.”
Neville Doughty, 80, who lives opposite the house in Walnut Close, dialled 999 when he saw the drama unfolding. He said: “I was just getting ready to go to bed when I saw loads of black smoke coming from the house. I called 999 immediately. It was very dramatic. We’ve got a tight neighbourhood and we went over to comfort them.”
The tenants of the property, which is owned by housing association Spire Homes, were believed to be staying with relatives in the village.
A spokesman for Spire Homes said: “Our thoughts go out to the family at this very difficult time.
“Our main priority is for the overall wellbeing of the family and we are working with Rutland County Council to ensure they can have a suitable temporary home.
“We will also be working longer-term with the family to help find them a new permanent home for the future.”
An aerial platform was used to put out the fire.
Firefighters also used plastic sheeting on the roof to help make the building safe in the aftermath of the fire.