A YOUNG couple lost all they own after a blaze ripped through their home.
The fire destroyed the downstairs of the terraced house and burned a hole in the ceiling of the kitchen.
Tenants Dave Shepherd, 23, and Natalie Davis-McKie, 26, said it was fortunate they were out at the time as they could have been killed if the fire had started during the night.
Dave only learned about the blaze when he received a phone call saying his home was on fire, before racing back to find all their possessions were destroyed.
Dave told the Hartlepool Mail: “We have been left with no clothes or anything. The fire ruined it all as everything was smoke damaged.
“We have no contents insurance so everything that’s gone is gone. It’s devastating.
“There’s a hole in the ceiling where our bed is. I don’t want to even think what could have happened if we were in.”
Firefighters spent four hours at the house in High Street, Greatham, after a passer-by noticed smoke coming from the property at around 11.30am on Friday, February 24.
The downstairs was ruined by the flames, while the rest of the home was badly smoke damaged in what was called an “intense fire” by Stranton Fire Station watch manager Andy Robinson.
The fumes also affected an adjoining house, which was being rented by Jack Hutchinson, 22, and his pregnant partner Debbie Sharp, 21.
They lost a host of possessions, including clothes that they had bought ready for the arrival of their baby in just a few weeks.
Jack, who works on the railways, said: “Debbie’s scared to even go into the house now.
“All of the stuff we have bought is ruined.
“Everything stinks of smoke.”
The cause of the fire, which started in the kitchen, is still being investigated.
Flames quickly spread and four firefighters put on breathing apparatus to search the home because they thought Natalie, a dentistry student at Hartlepool College of Further Education, was inside.
Dave, who is trained as a sales manager, but is currently unemployed, added: “They went into the house because we didn’t know where Natalie was. I knew she was at college that day, but didn’t know what time. That was an awful feeling.
“Thankfully she was still out and I was out at a shop.
“I got a phone call just after noon to say I needed to get home quick because the house was on fire.
“I didn’t know what to think.
“When I saw it I knew everything was gone. You could see how serious it was.”
Dave and Natalie are currently staying in a hotel while their neighbours stay with relatives on the Fens estate.
Dave added: “I don’t know what we do now. We’re just waiting to find out what the situation is with the landlord.”
An investigation is currently under way into the cause of the fire.
Their landlord, Jon Whitfield, said it was inappropriate to comment while the probe was ongoing.