A family of seven and their lodger had to flee their home when a fire tore through the building, destroying treasured possessions and children’s Christmas presents.
The husband and wife and their five children, aged between five and 11, escaped unharmed from the semi-detached house on Patshall Avenue, in Wednesfield, Wolverhampton.
The blaze is believed to have started in an upstairs bedroom at around 6.10pm yesterday. It then ripped through the first floor, gutting all of the rooms and causing smoke damage.
The father, aged 37, who asked not to be named, said: “We just heard a bang and it went pitch black. We stayed at the bottom of the stairs and you could just see smoke and smell cinder.
“It’s just lucky it didn’t happen at night, because we would have all been dead.”
Neighbours invited the family into their homes as firefighters arrived.
The father said: “The kids are safe so that’s the main thing, but it’s taken everything out upstairs – the kids’ school uniforms, everything. It’s a bit heart-breaking at the moment. I hasn’t hit me yet. I’m in shock. I only cancelled the insurance the other day because we were short on money because of the kids’ Christmas presents.
“My daughter is broken-hearted.”
Firefighters are now investigating the cause of the blaze. Watch commander Simon Hardiman, of Fallings Park fire station, said: “There were three adults and five children in the property at the time, but fortunately they were all downstairs when the fire happened upstairs.
“One of the smoke alarms went off and the people inside the property had the good sense to flee the building immediately.
“We are currently investigating the source of the ignition.”