A couple have thanked passers-by and neighbours who helped them escape a blaze which severely damaged the home where they have lived for 23 years and destroyed all their belongings.
Richard John initially tried to fight the blaze, which broke out on Friday night in the shed.
Richard, his partner Sarah Goodwin and their friend Nicola Daly were eating dinner at about 7pm in Worcester Crescent, Stamford, when they noticed the shed was engulfed in flames.
As Richard bravely attempted to tackle the fire with a garden house, Nicola called the fire service. But it quickly spread to the conservatory and then to the house.
Richard said: “By this time I thought there was nothing I could do with a hose, I went back into the house and said ‘we have got to get out’ and the only way of escaping was through the front room window.”
Neighbours including Tina Naylor, Angie Greenwood and Dan Featherstone, who had seen smoke and flames, were on hand to pull the trio to safety through the lounge window after the only other exit - a side door - became unpassable.
The heroic neighbours also helped rescue two Basset Hounds, owned by the couple, and a Staffie, owned by Nicola - also through the window.
Thanks to the quick-thinking actions of their neighbours, the couple escaped unharmed but the fire destroyed all of their belongings and substantially damaged the property.
A grateful Richard.43, said: “It is heartwarming to know that when something like that happens people jump into action. They were all very helpful and to be honest, they were just great.
“We have been overwhelmed with the support.
“It is very humbling that people feel they want to give. Without everybody’s help it could have been a lot worse.”
It is believed the blaze started hedge in the garden before spreading to the couple’s shed.
Richard recalled: “It was a complete nightmare. I was sat down for my dinner one minute, the next I have about 15 firemen here and I am stood there watching my house burn.
“It was a weird experience,” said Richard, who works as a wagon driver for waste management company Biffa.
About 80 per cent of the two-storey home and a wooden shed was damaged by the fire, while there is smoke and water damage to the remainder.
Although, the home which the couple have lived in for 23 years, has been badly damaged, they believe their insurance will cover the cost of repairs and hope to move back in within six months.
In the meantime, the couple are staying at their daughter Charlotte’s home in Stamford until they find somewhere else to live.
l Two people were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation after a fire in Nightingale Way, Oakham, on Thursday last week. It was caused by an unattended tealight.